Heroes

 

Observer photo by Greg Elias
Members of the Williston Little League All-Stars mingle with supporters on Friday. The team got a police escort as it rolled into Williston.  Read all about it here.

Heroes

Police escort, supporters greet team

Aug. 14, 2008
By Greg Elias
Observer staff

Sirens sounded. A crowd cheered. Williston’s Little League team had come home.

The 11- and 12-year-old All-Stars got a police escort and a warm welcome from dozens of residents after advancing farther than any other Williston Little League team. The squad reached the regional semifinals in Bristol, Conn. before being eliminated. 


Observer photo by Greg Elias
Members of the Williston Little League All-Stars return home after representing Vermont in the New England Regional Tournament.

A caravan of family cars brought the 12-member team home on Friday. When they exited Interstate 89 in Richmond, Williston police cars were waiting to escort them the last few miles up U.S. 2. The cruisers were joined by Fire Chief Ken Morton’s bright red SUV.

As the procession rolled into Williston, a crowd of about 40 well-wishers lined U.S. 2 to greet them.

Illuminated by a pair of police cars’ flashing lights and serenaded with the fire siren, the caravan turned into Williston Central School and made a couple of laps around the parking lot. The crowd, which had rushed over to the school, cheered and waved. When team members disembarked, they were greeted with applause and high fives.

Were they surprised by the homecoming?

“I think I kind of knew when I saw the police escort 10 miles away that something was going on,” said outfielder Peter Scrimgeour.

Will Mikell, the team’s manager, beamed with pride.

“This was such an accomplishment,” he said. “These young people, they never gave up.”

Indeed, the team’s playoff run was marked by comebacks. After erasing a seven-run deficit to win the state title, Williston avoided elimination in the first round of the regional playoffs with another seven-run comeback, this one in the final inning of a game against the Rhode Island All-Stars.

Williston was finally eliminated on Aug. 7, falling 12-0 to Connecticut’s Shelton National in a game called in the fourth inning due to the mercy rule. Shelton went on to advance to the Little League World Series.

The hometown team may have been tired after playing 21 games in 35 days. Mikell said Williston played several more games than other teams in the regional playoffs.

Still, the squad brought home Williston’s first-ever state title and memories of the New England Regional Tournament.

The playoff run was nice, but it was the players’ character and sportsmanship that was really remarkable, said coach Jeff Smith.

“I’m most proud of the way they conducted themselves and supported each other,” he said.

A barbecue to celebrate the team’s successful season will be held Thursday, Aug. 14 at 6 p.m. at the field house behind Williston Central School. The event, which is open to the public, will be moved to the school’s cafeteria if it

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