SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls Little League enthralled many of us here at home as we followed them at the Little League World Series. They arrived back in Sioux Falls on Monday night.
“I’m trying to bust through these doors and go get my kid that I haven’t seen or gotten to really hold since August 5th, so we’re pretty anxious to see him,” said Elizabeth Carlson, whose son Kye Carlson is on the team.
“There’s no place we’d rather be right now,” said Matt Kuenzi, whose son Noah Kuenzi is on the team.
“Can’t wait to hug and put our arms around our child and bring him home,” Noah Kuenzi’s mother Jennifer Kuenzi said.
Their son wasn’t quite anticipating this welcoming.
“It was just amazing to see all of the families,” Noah Kuenzi said. “I wasn’t really expecting all these people. I was kind of just expecting everyone’s family, not grandpas, grandmas, friends and family, so it was kind of cool to see everyone.”
“We throw around the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ quite frequently, but this truly is,” Kye Carlson’s father Jolin Carlson said. “I mean, they’re aged out. If you come back, it’s as a fan. So this was their one opportunity to make it, and they did it, and that’s something they should all be proud of.”
“Yeah, very, very proud,” Elizabeth Carlson said.
At their relatively young ages, this team performed on a stage few athletes ever reach.
“I’m sure their maturity has gained 10-fold being away from home and doing a lot of things on their own,” Jennifer Kuenzi said. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of each and every one of these players on the team and the families that it takes to get out to this point.”
Speaking of maturity, her son recalls the whole experience with the perspective of someone decades his senior.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome of this experience, just with all my teammates, couldn’t have asked for better people to spend this last 25 days with,” Noah Kuenzi said.
There will be a welcome home celebration for the team Wednesday night at 7:00 at the Sanford Pentagon; it’s free for the public to attend. Everyone will need to wear a mask.