Jackie Robinson West from Chicago will play undefeated Las Vegas Mountain Ridge, the team that beat them 13-2 just four days ago, at the Little League World Series U.S. Championship game tomorrow.
The Chicago team, comprised of African-American players from the Jackie Robinson West league on Chicago’s South Side, is making its first appearance in 31 years in the LLWS championship. Although Jackie Robinson West just got trounced by Las Vegas, Darold Butler, the team’s coach, said the players are “not sweating” at all.
“The boys are talking about winning,” Butler said. “They are anxious to prove that they can win.”
Butler said every player is his favorite.
“I love them all,” Butler said. “To get there, it has been a team effort. It’s not like one kid carried the whole team.”
“They are almost like my own kids,” Butler said.
Butler said he spends hours each day with the players for the whole month, and the players’ parents love it.
“I’ve known the parents for a long time,” Butler said. “They know the kids are in good hands with us. They think of me as a free babysitter.”
The winner of the Las Vegas-Chicago game will represent the U.S. and compete with Japan in Sunday’s Little League World Series championship. Both games will be broadcast on ABC.