SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Fans of the South Dakota Little League team are holding their heads high despite a disappointing loss in the Midwest Regional Championship.
North Dakota defeated South Dakota 9-7 Friday to advance to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania next week. Relatives of one of the South Dakota players gathered at the Gateway Lounge to cheer the team from a distance.
You didn’t need to watch the game on the big screen TV to see how the game was progressing. Just follow the reactions from the Chapman family.
Among those cheering the loudest was Josh Chapman whose nephew, Carter Chapman, nicknamed “Thor,” is on the Sioux Falls team.
“I have all my family there that was able to go. And so, to see my mom and dad and my brother’s wife and kids on the TV, it’s been really neat, it’s been exciting,” Chapman said.
South Dakota fell behind early, but the Chapmans didn’t give up hope.
“When these bats get going, Sioux Falls, they can score some runs,” Chapman said.
That optimism was rewarded when South Dakota came back to tie the game, bringing the Gateway Lounge lunch crowd to its feet.
“Just to see the excitement at noon on a Friday. Everyone’s like, I’m going to take a longer lunch break today and we got a great game going on right now,” Gateway Lounge manager Jackson Rentschler said.
North Dakota would retake the lead and go on to win the game. But the local fans’ disappointment at the outcome didn’t overshadow their South Dakota pride in a team that accomplished so much on the diamond.
“These Sioux Falls kids, they made friends that they’ll have a lifetime, so, at the end of the day, it was very, very cool to see and not a lot of kids get that opportunity, so I’m very proud of all of them,” Chapman said.
Chapman says he was up at 4 a.m. Friday with pre-game jitters. His nephew, “Thor” will quickly put the loss behind him as he prepares for football season at Memorial Middle School, where he’ll be a seventh-grader.