Youth baseball players in Plainview could be a week away from sharing something in common with Mets outfielder Michael Conforto and Yankees infielder Todd Frazier.
Like millions of other children around the world, the two major-leaguers grew up playing Little League baseball. They were among the most talented players at a young age, and they advanced to the Little League World Series.
Now the Plainview Hawks will have an opportunity to get that far, having become the first Long Island team in 12 years to advance to a Little League regional by winning the 10-to-12-year-old New York State Championship Series.
They will begin play Monday against Holbrook (New Jersey) at 10 a.m. at Breen Field at A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Leadership Training Center in Bristol, Connecticut, in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament. Holbrook defeated Northwest Washington, 16-6, on Sunday in the opening game.
“Everyone’s ecstatic, but the kids are focused,” coach Paul Brower said. “They feel they still have work to do, and that’s also exciting as a coach to see that. They’re not just seeing it as icing on the cake, which it real ly is, but they feel like they have a legitimate shot and they belong there.”
The double-elimination tournament features six teams: champions from Delaware, Mary land, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. The Mid-Atlantic championship is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, with the winner advancing to Wil liams port, Pennsylvania, for the Little League World Series.
The Plainview team met at a local bagel store for a send-off before driving to Connecticut on Saturday. Brower said he was happy that the schedule allowed rest and the opportunity for his players to see their opponent before their first game.
Above all, he’s thrilled with what his players have accomplished.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this group,” he said. “They’re unbelievable, they’ve really come together as a team. They’ve always been good ballplayers individually, but this year, they’re all picking each other up and I think it’s really just the age. They’re not little kids anymore. They are getting closer to being young men.”