Petaluma National Little League has settled into their dorms in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where they’re living next to players from Africa, Latin America and Canada and preparing for Thursday’s game.
But back home volunteers are working hard to raise money to offset travel expenses for families accompanying the 13-year-old players.
Little League International covers all costs for players and coaches, but families are on their own and between airfare, hotels and meals will spend at least $2,500 per family, said Becky Smith, whose son Hance is on the team.
“Most families can’t swing the cost and it’s been a scramble to pay for it,” Smith said. “Our goal is to have at least one parent of each player to support them during practices and the game.”
On Thursday at noon, the Nationals square off against a team from Fairfield, Conn., at the first game of the Little League World Series. Just getting there was a huge accomplishment for Petaluma, who will represent the Western region and are considered one of the top eight Little League teams in the country and among the top 16 in the world.
Twin Cities Little League will be looking to secure a Little League World Series appearance next season.
Meanwhile, Petaluma is gearing up to see their boys play. Cinema West will be showing the game on the big screen, with all proceeds from the $15 tickets donated to the team. (Get there early for the festivities starting 11 a.m.) And Tuesday night, Beyond the Glory is holding a "dine and donate" event from 5-9 p.m.
To make a donation to Petaluma National Little League, click here. 100 percent of all donations go directly to the team.