The loss of the Little League World Series this year has had more than just an economic impact on the region.
For local players, changes to this year’s season in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions may leave a lasting impact.
“I’ve missed friends and family coming together… putting the chairs on the hill and watching the game,” said Matthew Conklin, 16, of Montoursville.
Conklin started playing t-ball at age 4 and never lost his passion for the game. Like many young ballers, he played on his local Little League team until he was 12 and then moved on to Seniors.
As a young 10-year-old, Conklin recalls looking up to the players who came to the Series, getting motivation from them and building relationships with other kids along the way.
He and his family make sure to secure their spot on the hill each year, even putting names on the hill chairs they bring with them.
The pandemic shortened some of the season, but many games and practices could still be held. However, there were limitations. Players were unable to hang out in the dugout, shake hands after the game or high five teammates for a good hit. But the game goes on, and most kids are still working hard to put Ws on the board.
“I hope that we have a season next year, and the coronavirus goes away,” said Hayes Donely, 10, of Keystone.