Cumberland American begins LLWS title quest Friday night
The Cumberland American Little League team will play its first game in the Little League World Series under the lights Friday against a team from Pearland, Texas.
The game is set for 8 p.m. at Lamade Stadium. It will be broadcast on ESPN.
"The kids are excited. I am excited. We just finished an hour of fielding and batting. The kids looked great and I am excited to get on the field tonight like they are. They've had a lot of fun and they will continue to have fun, especially on the baseball field," said Cumberland American manager Dave Belisle.
The team hasn't played since it punched its ticket to the Little League World Series with a 10-6 win over Connecticut in the New England Regional final.
"We've been practicing all week for this, all summer. Since we beat Fairfield in the (New England Regional) finals we've been looking to our first game. We just are really excited to finally get back out on the field again," said Trey Bourque.
"We haven't played in a while and it is going to be a great experience to just finally play. We've been preparing so long. It will be great to finally play," said Addison Kopack.
Cumberland American will be playing in front of a packed crowd in primetime on national television. But players said they are looking forward to it.
"We are definitely nervous. But we are just going to let the butterflies go and play our hearts out on the field," Bourque said.
"It's mostly nervous excitement because we know they are a great team. But they are beatable," Kopack said.
Belisle expects both teams to be nervous when they hit the field.
"I've been watching the games that are being played and it seems like one team gets the edge. We got to hit, we got to score some runs. When we score runs, our boys get loosened up. If we hit tonight and score some runs, you are going to see Cumberland American at their best," he said.
Sixteen teems are competing for a Little League World Series title, including eight from the U.S. and eight from other countries.
Cumberland American earned a spot in the World Series in 2011 but lost its first two games and ultimately went 1-2.