PEARLAND, Texas -- Thousands of parents, supporters and residents gathered Aug. 11 at The Rig near Pearland High School to send off the Pearland Little League Team as they head to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to play in the Little League World Series.
After a contest Aug. 9 that saw Pearland overcome an early deficit and break away from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to clinch a spot in the Little League World Series, the team has seen the community rally around it.
"You guys have something in front of you," former MLB pitcher Clay Hensley told the team Aug. 11. "Go get it. Don't let anybody else take it from you. Keep working hard. Every day you got to keep working hard. Be the one that outworks everybody."
Hensley, a Pearland resident, helped the team out with practices during the season. The Pearland All Stars have been playing since June 17 when they first started their season.
The Rig in Pearland, usually host to Pearland and Dawson High School football games, was flooded with support for the program. The young players were honored by music from the Pearland and Dawson High School bands and cheer teams.
The Pearland All Stars were also commemorated with a special baseball presented by Earl Thompson, who is also a Pearland resident, and played in the first Little League World Series in 1947.
Thompson signed a baseball and gave it to Pearland City Council Mayor Pro Tem Tony Carbone, which will now be housed at Pearland City Hall in honor of the 2022 team. Thompson told the young players to soak in every moment in Williamsport.
The Pearland Little League team has also seen the city support it through sponsors and donations. Restaurants around Pearland such as Killen's BBQ and Willie's Grill and Icehouse held fundraisers to raise money for the team's expenses.
The original Gringo's Mexican Kitchen located at 2202 E. Broadway St., Pearland, on Aug. 15 will give 100% of its proceeds to the Pearland All Stars.
Additionally, the team received a total of $60,000 in sponsorship money from the Houston Astros Foundation, Gallery Furniture owner Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale and H-E-B, who each donated $20,000 to the team.
"We are supremely grateful for all of the sponsors who support the league year in and year out and for all of those who are helping now with this team's journey. Let's go Pearland!" Troy Johnson, executive board president for Pearland Little League, told Community Impact Newspaper.
Pearland Little League is not a stranger to success. The team has made it to the Little League World Series four times in the past 12 years. Pearland will leave for Williamsport on Aug. 12.
Pearland's first game of the Little League World Series will be at 7 p.m. on Aug. 18 at Lamade Stadium located at 100 Borderline Road, South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
"Thank you all for coming," Pearland All Stars manager Aaron Cummings said. "This is really, really overwhelming. We are blessed and fortunate that you are here. ... I want to thank each and every one of you guys for coming."
This article comes from our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspapers.