North Carolina lawmakers invited the All Stars from Greenville to the state legislature to publicly recognize their Little League Baseball World Series run and join them for lunch Wednesday.
After an introduction by Sen. Don Davis, whose district includes Pitt County, a rolling applause showed the North State All Stars how much state senators appreciated their Little League campaign that ended with a loss to Texas in the U.S. championship. The North Carolina team finished fourth overall in the World Series, after a consolation loss to Mexico on Sunday.
After senators had their turn in the morning, state representatives also saluted the players in the afternoon. Pitt County Rep. Greg Murphy even performed his own twist on “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” as a tribute.
The 13 team members are Jacob Calder, JoeJoe Byrne, Will Casey, Drew Fields, Chase Anderson, Ashton Byars, Cameron Greenway, Luke Lambert, Bryce Jackson, Cash Daniels-Moye, Thomas Barrett, Matthew Matthijs and Carson Hardee.
Davis mentioned how the team rewrote World Series history this month by opening the tournament with consecutive no-hitters, one of them a perfect game. Davis caught one of the games in person in Williamsport, Pa.
“I can tell you that we indeed were the favorite,” he said. “Many were cheering our team on from all over the place. They did it with such style, class and grace.”
Sen. Louis Pate, who also represents Pitt County, congratulated the players for their hard work and thanked the team for the positive spotlight they shined on Eastern North Carolina.
Others to speak honoring the team were Sens. Jerry Tillman, Rick Gunn, Harry Brown and Jeff Tarte.
“Seeing two back-to-back no hitters is historical,” Tillman said. “A no-hitter in itself is a big event.”
Gunn, who is related to Calder through his wife, reminded the players the whole state was behind them throughout their run.
“You had thousands and thousands of individuals from your state pulling for you,” Gunn said.
Tarte said the game of baseball is cerebral, with the great players knowing where they are supposed to be. He noted how the game is often a synonym for life.
“That’s going to bode well for you,” Tarte said. “It’s about being competitive and giving your best all of the time. It’s an amazing feat what you accomplished, and we tip our hat to you.”