Massapequa Coast didn't get their chance to stave off elimination in the Little League World Series on Sunday, as heavy rain in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, postponed their game against Pennsylvania's Hollidaysburg to Monday.
But for the nearly 100 spectators who gathered to watch the game on a big screen set up at John Burns Park in Massapequa Park, the weather could not dampen their belief in the local squad even after Friday's loss to Hawaii threatened their run in the tournament.
Barbara Falcone, a seventh-grade teacher in Northport who lives in Babylon, said the team made her proud as an Islander.
"I consider them Long Island's team," said Falcone, one of the last attendees to leave the park on Sunday after the game was officially rained out. "It's really exciting to have [the first] team from Long Island in 44 years to make it."
Falcone, who has no personal connection to the players or the team, added that she was OK with the rainout because such an important game ought to be played only under the best weather conditions.
She said the Massapequa Coast run to the Little League World Series has deepened her appreciation of the sport.
"When it's kids, I like it even more because it's not about the money or the stardom," said Falcone, who is also a Mets fan. "It's about having fun."
For Margaret Gabriele, whose nephew Ryan Huksloot plays for Massapequa Coast, the players have a lot to be proud of no matter what happens in the rest of the Little League World Series.
“They are heroes and mini-celebrities," said Gabriele, of West Islip. " … The whole town is rooting for them.”
The all-star 12-year-olds from Massapequa Coast comprise the second Little League team from Long Island to reach the World Series since its inception in 1947. A Rockville Centre Little League team made it to Williamsport in 1978.
Craig Garland, president of the Massapequa Coast Little League, said there will not be a watch party at the park for the 11 a.m. game on Monday due to rain in the forecast for Long Island.
“It’s always disappointing when a game gets postponed,” Garland said, adding that he encourages people to watch it at home.
Lou Colondona and his neighbor Frank Lazio, of Massapequa, may just do that.
“It happens,” Colondona said, referring to the bad weather. “It’s better safe than sorry.”