GREENVILLE, N.C. (WCNT) — The Greenville Tar Heel Little League baseball team may not have gotten the result it had hoped for this summer. However, they got a pretty good consolation prize.
The members of the team were honored for their efforts in the Southeast Regional tournament during an event at Elm Street Park on Wednesday. Just weeks ago, the team’s Little League World Series hopes were snapped all because of a false-positive COVID test.
“Not being able to go to Williamsport because of a false-positive, it really hurt us, it hurt us bad,” said Greenville Tar Heel Manager Cory Scott. “It hurt these kids. You know, they will get over it. Later in life, they will really know what they missed, but the parents and the coaches, it’s going to take us a while.”
Wednesday’s ceremony, while meant to celebrate the team’s efforts, was overshadowed by what-ifs and the crippling effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Life is hard. I just hope they learn that if you get knocked down, you just have to get back up and keep going,” said Scott.
Friends, family and city leaders all gathered to show the boys just how much they mean to the community.
“It means a lot to the kids to be recognized and not just forgotten,” Scott said.
Tar Heel went undefeated in the postseason until they were forced to forfeit at the Southeast Regional.
“It’s an honor to put on the Tar Heel jersey and to go down there and perform like we did,” said Aiden Coates, Tar Heel pitcher and right fielder.
The team credits much of its success to the brotherhood they have together.
“They are like brothers to me,” said Kasyn Chase, Tar Heel second baseman and left fielder. “We may not have the same mom or dads, but we are like brothers. I would go to war with them and they would go to war with me.”
Now, team organizers hope a special surprise trip will help the boys find closure with the season. The Tar Heel team will visit Florida this weekend where they will attend a Tampa Bay Rays game, then spend a day at Disney.
“I am super excited,” said Coates.
While nothing will compare to playing in a World Series, the team is excited for what’s ahead.