Sports

Little League World Series players say the darndest things

Every year, Little League World Series officials interview the players, asking biographical questions, including their favorite food, book, TV show, athlete and so on.

Here’s what the kids offered in 2019, the last time the LLWS was held:

Best names

Harrison Ford (“It’s a little annoying being asked all the time about my name, but it’s OK,” he said), Oscar Clout, Cash Compliment and Everest Ouellette, who competed in the Little League Home Run Derby. His parents climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, “but they thought Kilimanjaro was a little too long for a first name, so they named me Everest,” he said.

Travel stories

The Australian team needed multiple flights and buses to get to Williamsport. The birthday for Lincoln Gruppelaar, a 4-foot-11, 103-pound infielder/outfielder, is Aug. 27. His team flew home on Aug. 26. It’s a 30-hour flight to Sydney, and with the time change, they landed on Aug. 28. His 12th birthday just vanished.

“But we will celebrate it on the plane,” Lincoln said, smiling. “We have cake.”

Connections to another time and place

Maddy Freking of the Midwest team listed her favorite baseball player of all time as Jackie Robinson.

Teammate Jack Brandl, when asked the person he would most like to talk to, said, “I’d like to talk to Babe Ruth to hear how he handled fame.”

Ryan Darrah, from the Southwest team, told us that on a flight of stairs in his house is a sign that reads: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!” from Henry David Thoreau.

Marley Sebastian of the West team was named after Bob Marley.

The favorite book of Seongjoo Lim, from the Asia Pacific team, is “The Alchemist,” by Paulo Coelho.

Sol Guyer of the Great Lakes team listed his favorite band as Led Zeppelin.

From the Midwest team, Brett Buettner’s great-great-uncle was football Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin.

The grandmother of Evan Schallert, from the Great Lakes team, was the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin.

Interests and talents that extend far beyond baseball

Chase Obstgarten of the Southeast team plays the tuba.

Teammate Noah Culpepper can solve the Rubik’s Cube in under a minute.

Henry Kelsey of the New England team solved it in 48 seconds.

Derek DeLatte II of the Southwest team has done some acting. At age 4, he appeared in a commercial with then-Saints quarterback Drew Brees. “I played his son,” Derek said. “I had to kick a football that broke a lot of windows.”

Kamaha’o Akima of the West team can make eggs Benedict.

Teammate Caleb Chai can impersonate The Rock’s eyebrow raise.

Sal Garcia of the Mid-Atlantic team is a certified scuba diver.

Thomas VanBishler of the Northwest team caught (with help) a 45-pound salmon when he was 2 years old.

Luke Idlett of the Great Lakes team can count to 10 in Spanish and Chinese.

Jacob Hoda of the Northwest team listed his favorite TV show as “Jeopardy!”

A sense of humor

L.J. Aponte of the Mid-Atlantic team went to Italy in 2018 and said that while in Rome and Pompeii, “we had gelato every 15 minutes.”

Max Miotto of the Australian team said his mom gets so loud in the stands, “it gets embarrassing sometimes.”

Brett Triplett of the Southeast team, whose twin brother, Chase, also played on the team, said, “We get asked all the time, ‘Where is your third brother?'”

Chase Triplett, when asked what he would like to share, said, “My friend said an onion is the only food that can make you cry. I disagreed and threw a coconut at his face.”

Zion Pardo of the Caribbean team hit a grand slam against the Virgin Islands, his first slam in Little League play, but added, “I hit of lot of them in the minor leagues.”

Reece Roussel of the Southwest team is nicknamed “380” because, he said with a smile, “I can hit dingers 380 feet.”

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