Mt. Pleasant Area Little League team attends Washington Wild Things game
A Mt. Pleasant Area Little League team recently got a big reward for its hard work during the 2013 season when its members had the chance to get up close and personal with the Washington Wild Things — a member of the East Division of the Frontier League, an independent baseball league.
In June, the Baird Construction Bulls finished its season by winning the team's division and finishing first in the league's playoffs.
That might not be what members of the squad remember most about the season, though. On June 21, the team attended the Wild Things' home game against the River City Rascals, an O'Fallon, Mo.-based team of the league's West Division, played at CONSOL Energy Park in Washington, Pa.
“It gave us an opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments, and it was something specifically related to baseball,” said Scott Salvatore, the team's manager and a Mt. Pleasant resident.
Members of the Bulls not only got to attend the game, they also got to meet players and run on the field with the team member who played the same position that they did, said Paul Baird of Mt. Pleasant, the team's sponsor, and assistant coach.
The Little Leaguers stayed on the field with the Wild Things players for the playing of the national anthem. The team name was also announced and shown on the Jumbotron.
Prior to the game Baird said the team and their families enjoyed a tailgate party.
After the game the group enjoyed a fireworks display put on by the ballpark.
“I told them since we finished in first place that the Wild Things were having fireworks just for them,” Baird said.
Salvatore said Baird planned the trip.
“Paul put a lot of effort into planning everything and I really do appreciate his business being the team sponsor,” Salvatore said. “He played a key role in taking care of activities outside of the field so I could concentrate on the kids and the things happening on the field and I am very grateful to him for that.”
Baird said he felt Salvatore and the other coaches did a great job with the kids and he just wanted to make sure the coaches and players got rewarded for all their hard work.
It was not the first time Baird has taken a Little League team to a minor league game.
Two years ago, he arranged for the team he coached and sponsored to see the Toledo Mud Hens.
“I just want the kids to have a great memory of their youth, and that is why I put all of the time into these parties,” Baird said.
Cameron Gorton, 10, of Norvelt said he enjoyed attending the game and getting to see his team members again. But his favorite part was meeting the players and getting to run out onto the field with the Wild Things third baseman.
“They were really fun to talk to. I felt like I was ballplayer like them,” Gorton said.
His mother, Melissa Gorton said she was very happy the boys were able to go on the trip.
“I was really excited for kids to go out on the field with the bigger players and experience what it's like to be on a big field,” she said.
“I think it kind of shows them that if they can continue to work hard that this could be the next step if that is what they want to do.”
Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.