- Associated Press - Saturday, August 27, 2011

SOUTH WILILAMSPORT, PA. (AP) - Little League honored a victim of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack and the youngest victim of the mass shooting in January in Tucson, Ariz., with a moment of silence Saturday and a commemorative plaque that will hang on the outfield wall for the rest of this year’s World Series.

Six people, including 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, were killed in the Jan. 8 shooting in Arizona, and 13 were wounded, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Green is the daughter of Los Angeles Dodgers scout John Green and granddaughter of former major league manager and pitcher Dallas Green.

Christina Taylor-Green, who was born on Sept. 11, 2001, played Little League ball in Tucson. Her parents joined her brother on the mound before he threw out the ceremonial first pitch, a strike. They were also given commemorative No. 11 jersey representing the West region team from Huntington Beach, Calif.

The family of New York firefighter Michael Cammarata, a former Little Leaguer killed at the World Trade Center in the 2001 terror attack, was scheduled to attend but decided to stay home at the last minute because of the hurricane.

Ten years earlier, Cammarata wore No. 11 while playing right field at the Little League World Series for a team from Staten Island, N.Y. The number is retired from use in the World Series in his honor.

Next to the No. 11 plaque in right field, Little League unveiled a new plaque with the initials of Cammarata and Green over the date “9-11-01.” It will remain on the wall until after Sunday’s championship game, and players will wear a similar patch on their uniforms for the rest of this year’s tournament.

Japan beat Mexico 5-2 in the international Saturday afternoon, with Billings, Mont., playing California in the U.S. final later Saturday. The ceremony took place in between the games.

Also Saturday, Little League enshrined Army Pfc. Ross McGinnis into its Hall of Excellence. McGinnis, 19, died in 2006 after giving up his life to save four others from a grenade blast thrown inside a Humvee. He was later posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award.

Fighting back tears after accepting the award for his son, Tom McGinnis praised Little League for helping “to bring a spotlight on our military. Without them, we wouldn’t be here today. Thank you.”

Ross McGinnis played Little League in Knox, Pa. Little League initially said in July that McGinnis was believed to be the only Little Leaguer to receive a Medal of Honor, but learned two weeks later of a second Little Leaguer who received the award. Army Corp. Thomas Bennett, of Morgantown, W.Va., was a medic who died in Vietnam in 1969.


HOOPS HITS: Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim took in his first Little League World Series, settling in with his family about 10 rows up from behind the plate for Saturday’s doubleheader.

Sons Jimmy, 13, and Jack, 11 both played as all-stars in their Syracuse-area league, Boeheim boasted. But Boeheim is purely a proud parent and spectator.

“I don’t coach,” the basketball Hall of Famer said. “I coach enough.”

Boeheim himself played shortstop and outfield growing up. He said he his team reached the New York state finals when he was 12.

A Yankees fan, Boeheim said he has a slight allegiance to the Montana team at the World Series because his daughter, Elizabeth, lives there.

“I watch it every year,” he said about the Little League World Series. “The baseball has been spectacular this year. It’s special.”


HOMETOWN HEROES: The World Series run for the team from Clinton County, Pa., is over, but friends and families of the players won’t soon forget the experience that enthralled central Pennsylvania.

Thousands of people showed up Friday night in Lock Haven, about 30 miles away, for an impromptu parade to honor the Keystone Little League players from Clinton County. Coach Justin Kline said the players were surprised by the honor.

Organizers had just about five hours to prepare for the team’s return. The Keystone league is based in Beech Creek, which has a population of about 700, but draws its players from throughout Clinton County.

They were the first Williamsport-area team to qualify for the World Series since 1969.

“I’m just glad, not just for Beech Creek, but that the whole county has been seen worldwide … what we’ve seen every day, and that’s there are great people from our county,” said Kline, 27, mayor of Beech Creek.

Kline doesn’t have family on the team, but just loves coaching and baseball.

“When you’re coaching Little Leaguers, especially ages 9 through 12, they’re young enough when they’re not giving you a hard time,” he said after his team watched an exhibition game at Volunteer Stadium. “These young kids, they’re just doing it for the love of baseball.


MAKING IT OFFICIAL: The team from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia was officially designated this week the champion of the Middle East and Africa region. A team from Uganda had initially won the region but was denied visas by U.S. consular officers after the State Department said there were inconsistencies with players’ ages and birth dates. The Saudi Arabia team, mostly made up of children of U.S. citizens working overseas, was tabbed after losing the regional final. Uganda was trying to become the first team from Africa to advance to the World Series. … The World Series set a new attendance record for the entire tournament after the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. Through 29 games, 385,581 fans had attended the series, which broke the previous record of 381,028 for 32 games last year. This year’s series has been boosted huge fan support for the team from Clinton County, Pa., whose players live just 30 miles away from South Williamsport.



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