SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Four years ago, Marcus Phillips and Treyse Eastman were on ESPN representing Sioux Falls Little League baseball in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Fast forward to today and the baseball standouts are enjoying watching only the second Little League team from Sioux Falls to ever play in the Little League World Series. Team South Dakota from the Sioux Falls Little League is 2-0 and will face California at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Both Eastman and Phillips have shared some advice for the 2021 standouts.
“Don’t be afraid to play because it’s the exact same game at a different level,” Eastman told KELOLAND News on Tuesday. “Take it all in.”
Eastman was an outfielder on the 2017 team. He said the atmosphere of the LLWS still stands out the most to him.
“It was amazing,” said Eastman, who is going to be a sophomore at Dell Rapids High School. “So many people there just wanted to know who you were. Everybody was giving you all the attention you ever wanted.”
Phillips was a starting pitcher and one of the standouts for the 2017 team. He had three RBIs in the team’s second game and said he remembers his teammates the most.
“It was a great experience,” said Phillips, who will be a senior at Roosevelt High School. “Throughout the two months we got to play together, I really grew. It’s a close bond.”
Phillips mentioned 2017 teammate Mason Riley’s little brother and 2021 catcher Easton Riley told him the 2021 team “really wanted to build off what we started.”
“They’re a strong team. I think they’ll look to bunch hits together and make it a team win,” Phillips said. “Soak it in. Get as much of it as you can while you’re there. Once it’s over, it’s history.”
Eastman noted the 2017 team had 44 players try for the Little League team, the first year it was offered in Sioux Falls.
“We made a team out of that and made a nice run,” Eastman said.
Both Eastman and Phillips said the 2017 team stays in touch and they’ve spoken with other Little League teams each summer before the regional tournament starts.
“It’s something special for them,” Eastman said. “They’ve been playing really well. They have a lot of talent, Gavin Weir, Maddux Munson, their middle infield. Anyone on that team, they’re all hitters and they want to be there.”
Baseball is still a big part of both Eastman’s and Phillips’ future. Eastman is working as a catcher and just returned from a team baseball camp at Wichita State University.
Phillips said the college recruiting process has started and he’s been playing for the Sioux Falls Cyclones club baseball team throughout the summer.
But both players say they’ll always remember their summer at the LLWS.
“It’s a crazy experience,” Phillips said. “It’s just a great environment and fun to play in.”