SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — There have been some noticeable absences at a Sioux Falls middle school during this first week of classes. The no-shows at Memorial Middle School are not the result of illness, but rather, a previous commitment: the Little League World Series. The baseball players’ classmates are beaming with school pride.
The World Series exploits of the Sioux Falls Little League All-Stars are all the talk at Memorial Middle School.
“I hear kids talking about it. I hear staff members talking about it, it’s all positive,” Principal Nancy Hagen said.
Seven Little League players, half the entire team roster, attend Memorial. Their lifelong friends and classmates are excited about their World Series success.
“They’ve worked really hard to get there and I just hope the best for them for the rest of the tournament,” Memorial 7th grader Truman Olson said.
These boys have played sports with the Little Leaguers and can’t wait for them to return home.
“They’ve been gone for like 20-some days, I’ve only got them here to hang out with, so, we need them back,” Memorial 7th grader Tyson Tycz.
The principal is confident the players will catch-up in class after missing the first days of the school year.
“When the boys return, they’ll work with their teachers, the teachers will work with the boys, we’ll partner with the parents, truly, I am happy for the boys and parents,” Hagen said.
The students say its been a little distracting with their school work while thinking about their classmates participating in the World Series.
“Because I’m just thinking like, I want to be out there, that would be fun to play with them, too,” Memorial 7th grader Jase Unzen said.
“It’s pretty distracting because we all want them to do good on Saturday, so it’s kind of weird,” Memorial 7th grader Colby Nuttbrock said.
This school year at Memorial begins with seven classmates out of school and in the running for a World Series title, with some of their biggest fans, and closest friends, rooting from home.
“Hope you do good. Win. And represent Sioux Falls, South Dakota,” Jase said.
Principal Hagen says Memorial may host a special celebration, win or lose, once the players return to school.
The team’s next game is Saturday morning against Ohio.
There’s a fund set up to help cover travel and lodging expenses of the players’ families, costs that are running into the thousands of dollars.