HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - The Hamilton All-Stars have just returned from their appearance at the League World Series in Willamsport, PA.
"Just getting to play in the World Series and everything on those fields, the fields were awesome, it was a really fun experience and everything," said Jarod Morrison, pitcher for the West Side Little League All-Stars.
The season may not have ended the way they wanted but the homecoming couldn't have been better. The All-Stars were definitely "feeling the love", despite falling short of their World Series goal.
They're a little weary, but these hometown heroes are happy to be back. A crowd of excited, exhausted parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents swarmed the bus as the team got back to their home field in Hamilton.
There were smiles and hugs all-around on a job well-done, even a police escort for the home stretch, with dozens of cheering fans.
The All-Stars got a heroes welcome back.
"It was kind of frustrating to lose because we knew it was our last little league that we're going to play ever," Morrison said. 13-year-old Jarod is also known as "J-Rod".
"I pitched the first game and we won 16 to 6, so we did well," he said.
Morrison said his teammates have a lot to be proud of.
"I mean I wish we would have won 2 games because we'd have been first team from Hamilton to win two games in the World Series but you can't have everything you want so," Morrison said.
"Proud Grandpa?," we asked? "Yessir!", Jarod's grandfather Joe Morrison said enthusiastically. "Very proud of him!"
Joe Morrison and wife Judy traveled to Williamsport, PA, to cheer their grandson on, for what would be his last game.
"Our baby's growing up!," Judy laughed.
This was a real coming-of-age game for a lot of players, this being their final year in the little leagues. They may not realize for years the impact they had on their community.
"They probably don't yet," Joe Morrison said. "They'll learn, 5 years, 10 years from now when they see some other team going, they'll realize it, they'll be here."
"Proud Grandma?," we asked. "Oh very, very, very, very proud of him," Judy Morrison said. "We've watched Jarod since he played, I guess he was nine years old I was telling his mother tonight, we have an autographed baseball in 2003 signed by Jarod, so now Jarod has to sign it now when he went to the Little League World Series, we are extremely proud of him."
Jarod's dad Mark Morrison was sporting a lei of kukui nuts the Hawaiian Team had given all of the players. They're supposed to be for good luck and friendship.
"The parents and the kids are kind of saying they're curse beads," Mark Morrison said. "Kinda like The Brady Bunch, where they find the tiki idol."
We found a clip of that famous scene from the series in 1972, when the Brady's went to Hawaii.
"I found it isn't it neat?," Bobby Brady said. "It's taboo," their Hawaiian friend replied. "Taboo?," Peter asked. "Yeah," their friend replied. "It's supposed to make all kinds of terrible things happen to you,"
"Luckily they worked well when they played the Georgia team because they gave them the kukui beads yesterday and they got cursed, they gave them another set today and they got doubly cursed so we're real excited the kids from Hawaii won," Morrison said.
From the baseball field to nearby Hamilton High School's football field, they went for honors. It was a long, exhausting, but awesome trip.
"So what are you going to do now?," we asked a sleepy player, Bryce Couch. "Go home and sleep," he said groggily.
Everyone did such a great job representing, not only the team, but also the City Of Hamilton was getting great press all over the northeast from their team's fine performance.
The Morrisons were doubly proud, not only to have an all-star pitcher, but their other son, AJ, is the kicker at Hamilton High School, where the baseball team was honored before Friday night's football game.