BANGOR, Maine—They have traveled from one end of the country to the other. But the players, coaches, fans, parents and grandparents of the Lemon Grove Senior Little League team have found Maine to their liking so far.
And they have put themselves in good position to reach the semifinals by going 2-0 in pool play with two games left before the semifinals.
“We like it here. It’s been a good time,” said Lemon Grove manager Andre Simpson. “It’s a beautiful field and we’ve made new friends. Everyone is very nice.”
The team has Tuesday off and Simpson said they will spend some time watching games, traveling around a little and consuming lobster.
“It has been fun. And it’s finally starting to get hot. We hadn’t seen the sun since we got here (until today),” observed pitcher Deandre Simpson, Andre’s son.
Phyllis and Fred Cepeda, who are in Maine watching their grandson, Brandon Weed, and nephews Nico Alcoser and Alex Estrada, said they love Maine.
“It’s beautiful here,” said Phyllis.
“It’s a beautiful place. I like the trees,” said Fred.
The field was built by best-selling author Stephen King, who is a Bangor resident, and Phyllis Cepeda said they had their own Stephen King moment on Sunday when Lemon Grove had to rally for three runs in the bottom of the seventh to beat Brevard County, FL, on Deandre Simpson’s two-out, two-run double.
“I think I left 10 heartbeats in the stands,” said Phyllis.
Eric Preciado said he is enjoying the city and the surroundings as he watches his son, Eric, and nephew, Cesar Preciado, along with his wife’s cousin, Frankie Nunez, play for Lemon Grove.
He also used the word “beautiful” to describe the field and the city, and noted that they have made friends with the locals and set up plans to eat lobster.
Gustavo Preciado has been following his grandsons Eric and Cesar and said he is “having a blast.”
The team will resume pool play on Wednesday at 5 p.m. (Eastern) against Europe-Middle East-Africa champ Emilia, Italy.
The U.S. West champs will conclude pool play against U.S. Southwest titlist West University (Texas) on Thursday at 8 p.m.
The top two teams from each of the five-team pools will advance to Friday’s semifinal round.