EDMONDS — It’s the first time the Pacific All-Stars have advanced to the Little League World Series. In downtown Edmonds, it might as well be declared an official holiday.
There are T-shirts and bracelets for sale. And three local restaurants are planning viewing parties for the game, scheduled to begin at noon today.
Hamburger Harry’s plans to set up a television outdoors so that people just walking by can have a look at the game and join in the excitement. “Edmonds is all the way behind this,” said Quinn Mitchell, co-owner of the business.
Decorative lights and banners that say “help the Little League” are being put up, he said. “Come join in the celebration,” Mitchell said. “It will really be fun.”
The Pacific All-Stars represent a league based in Lynnwood, but most of the players are from Edmonds, and downtown merchants are all-in.
Kelli Glover, a bartender at Rory’s of Edmonds, is the aunt of 12-year-old team member Tygan Duncan. “It’s been an emotional roller coaster,” she said of Pacific’s progress through the playoff schedule. “It’s highs and lows. You never know.”
The restaurant had a viewing party on Saturday, when Pacific, playing in San Bernardino, California, defeated Oregon 6-3 — the victory needed to send the team to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Pacific is the second Snohomish County team to reach the Little League World Series, with the Mill Creek All-Stars going in 2008.
Pacific team members are 12- and 13-year-olds from Edmonds, Lynnwood and unincorporated Snohomish County. Going to the Little League World Series has been their goal since they starting playing on the 10-year-old All-Star team, Glover said. “Everyone is super excited.”
Vicki Nelson, of Lynnwood, is in charge of fundraising for the team. She’s arranged to have royal blue T-shirts produced with the team’s seasonal motto: “I believe.” The shirts, as well as bracelets, are being sold to help family members with expenses during the team’s playoffs.
Nelson’s son is on the 11-year-old All Star team. “We have played with all these boys in our regular Little League,” she said. “We’re just thrilled.”
The experience of going to the Little League World series is like “kids at Christmas time in August,” she said. “They’re having a blast right now.”
April Zepeda, of Edmonds, said team members have been “treated like royalty” since they arrived in Pennsylvania, with lots of baseball bling. They’ve gotten brand new bats, Oakley sunglasses, new uniforms, shoes and batting gloves, she said. And the team has a chartered bus.
That’s far different than at the regional tournament, where parents and coaches were scrambling for ground transportation for the team, renting an indoor practise facility and arranging to ship the team’s gear to California.
Team members have gotten used to some of the media attention that comes with winning. “They’ve done a lot of interviews,” Zepeda said. “They’ve gotten pretty good at it.”
While the Little League World Series picks up the tab for team members’ hotel and their airfares, parents and other family members are on their own.
That’s why Laura Duncan, of Edmonds, had to leave three of her boys — Brock, 15, Cole, 11, and Chase, 8 — at home when she flew out early Wednesday to see her son, Tygan Duncan, play in the World Series.
Laura Duncan, who works as a waitress at Jimmy Mac’s Road House in Everett, was able to organize a road trip for all her boys to San Bernardino so they could watch their brother during 10 days of playoffs. And neighbors saw the boys on TV while the game was being broadcast.
“They all got a little bit of shine time,” she said. “My kids are the neighborhood phenomena since they’ve been on ESPN.”
Duncan said her other three sons have been able to live vicariously through Tygan’s experience because they play baseball, too.
Watching the team march its way through the playoffs and finally clinching Saturday’s game that sent them to the Little League World Series “is still completely surreal,” she said. “It’s hard to grasp and understand that it’s actually happening. It’s definitely a little boy’s dream to be able to do this.”