WILLIAMSPORT, Pennsylvania (KTRK) -- Pearland Little League's return to Williamsport starts on a winning note.
The Southwest Region champs held off a game Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, squad on Thursday night, clinching an 8-3 win to open their 2022 tournament.
It's always good to get the first win, especially in a double-elimination format.
Pearland continues on in the winner's bracket, with its next game on Monday at 7 p.m. against the winner of the West-Metro matchup. That game airs on ABC13's sister network ESPN2.
Pearland Little Leaguers say it's dream come true at World Series
The video to an earlier edition of this story is in the player above.
It's the fourth trip to Williamsport in 12 years for Pearland Little League, and the experience of a lifetime for the kids, who are living out their dream in front of thousands of fans, the ESPN cameras, and the southeast Texas community behind them.
"I've always dreamed about coming here, and now that I actually get to see it, it's pretty cool," said Jacob Zurek (SS/P).
"It's kind of weird because you don't really think that you actually made it. It's kind of unique. It's once in a lifetime," third baseman Cohen Hartman said.
Pearland clinched the Southwest Regional and went undefeated (13-0) through the tournament to get to Williamsport.
"It hasn't really set in for me yet, until we play our first game, it's like just another baseball trip," Corey Kahn (P/OF) said.
Manager Aaron Cummings said the big challenge for the week is managing all of the excitement, attention and obligations, while somehow getting the kids ready to play baseball.
"It's trying to talk them through it, getting back in our routine no matter where we are, getting them to focus on that and start preparing them for what's coming," Cummings said. "Thirty thousand people is 30,000 people. It's a privilege for us to get to play a game like that, but also a challenge."
It's clear the Pearland team believes they can be the ones to bring home the World Series title.
"We want to win the whole thing. We've seen some great competition here," Cummings said. "The best finish we've had here was third place, which is pretty incredible whittled down from seven thousand, but we want to be the team with the best finish in Pearland history."