LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL
Ewa Beach first baseman Layson Aliviado celebrated after securing the last out of the game yesterday.
Little leaguers spreading
aloha across nation
Parents and fans of the Ewa Beach
players are sharing an experience
of a lifetime
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa » The song was familiar: "Aloha Oe." But the place was new.
After Ewa Beach beat Rancho Buena Vista (Calif.) 6-1 to win the U.S. championship at the Little League World Series yesterday, the vocal contingent of Hawaii fans serenaded the winning team with the familiar song.
Add several Hawaiian flags among the Hawaii crowd and the 40-person contingent's presence was felt around Lamade Stadium.
"Not in our wildest dreams could this happen," said Debbie Komuro, outfielder Zachary Rosete's grandmother.
Added team mom Debbie Aliviado: "We've looked around this week, saying 'We're in Pennsylvania!' We just can't believe it."
Some of the parents and relatives have been in Pennsylvania since the team got here two weeks ago. Some came this week, or whenever their job obligations would allow.
Manager Layton Aliviado even said his brother-in-law quit his job so he could travel here and support the team. All the visitors agreed that it hasn't even seemed like they left the islands.
"The Aloha Spirit is alive and well in Pennsylvania," Komuro said.
"Everyone here has opened their homes and opened their hearts to us," Aliviado said.
After the game, manager Aliviado was asked how he thinks fans are reacting on Oahu.
"Friends tell me they're going nuts," he said. "I hope so!"
Andy Kam, outfielder Harrison's Kam's father, said the team motto this year has been "Work hard. Play hard."
"We practice longer than anyone else," he said. Kam said the players routinely practiced from 4:30 p.m. until dusk.
"We were so prepared this season," he said.
Amy Kam, Harrison's mother, said the key word that players and coaches have repeated this week has been "believe."
"They believed in themselves and their coaches," she said.
Andy Kam said the team hasn't lost since the preseason back in February.
"It's got to be 30-plus games," he said.
Michael Memea and Rosete got to show some of their off-the-diamond moves before the game. They danced in front of the pitcher's mound with several Vista players and the LLWS mascot, much to the delight of the huge crowd.