ALTOONA, Iowa — To say watching the game was stressful is a bit of an understatement. Cheers, gasps, and groans filled Spectators Sports Bar in Altoona where fans of the Grandview Little League Team had gathered to watch the elimination game.
“The support has just been awesome. That’s how Iowa is, we come together. When Johnston made it we came together and watched them, when Urbandale made it we came together and watched them. The support that we’ve found from other little leagues is the same we’ve given to them in years past, it’s awesome” said Justin Denham.
And of course, that support is a little stronger from…well…you know where.
“East side pride man! That’s the east side, that’s how we do it. It’s family, it’s togetherness, it’s a group of people we always want to be around” said Denham.
And family was a big part of the watch party. Parents who couldn’t fly to Williamsport celebrated their son’s achievement, whether they won or lost.
“You go out and you just do your best, that’s all you can do at the end of the day. As long as you know you’ve done what you can do for your team, that’s it that’s all you can ask. No matter what, this is an experience you’ll never ever get to do again” said Kristen Bennett.
It wasn’t just coaches or parents who offered their words of support, it’s also people who have been there before.
“Those kids are going through a great time right now, they’re playing great ball and they’re excited. They lost their first game so they’re kind of in the same position that we were in and I think they’ll do fine and compete” said Jamie Sargent.
Sargent was a member of the last Grandview team to make it to the world series in 1980. He was right. The team survived elimination and will continue their journey. Sargent says no matter how that journey ends, the team had already won.
“The community will embrace them, the kids will be star struck once they get back because they don’t understand how much support they actual” he said.
Iowa will play the loser of Hawaii vs Michigan.