WILLIAMSPORT, P.A. (WPRI) – The championship chase is over for the Cumberland American Little League team but touching words from the team’s manager showed that he, and the thousands of fans from across Rhode Island, couldn’t be prouder of the hard working team.
Despite a close game and hard-fought effort, the local boys fell to a team from Chicago by a score of 8-7 on Monday night. This was the third game played in the Little League World Series by Cumberland American and the loss eliminates them from title contention.
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Even though the team will be heading home shortly, Coach Dave Belisle made it clear that the boys were loved, supported, and that he couldn’t be prouder. After the final pitch was thrown and the field cleared, Belisle joined his team in a large hug and shared inspirational words.
“Everyone come in for one big hug,” he said. “We’re going to go celebrate, and then we’re going to celebrate with our parents and come back home to a big parade. I love you guys, I’m going to love you forever and you’ve given me the most precious moment of my athletic and coaching career.”
After two very close games against both Texas and Tennessee, Cumberland American refused to go down without a fight during their final game. After falling behind, a two-run home run by Trey Thibault capped off an impressive third inning for Cumberland, giving them a 7-6 lead. A pair of RBI singles in the fifth then brought the lead back to Chicago. The Rhode Island boys were unable to mount another miraculous comeback in the bottom of the sixth.
This was Cumberland American’s second loss in tournament after falling to the Southwest Champions in their first game on Friday.
As the first pitch was thrown on Monday night, the town of Cumberland was on their feet cheering on their home team at Diamond Hill Park. Families, friends, and fans all joined together to watch the big game on a massive screen set up on the field.
“Words can’t express how proud of them we are. They represented us so well,” said Cumberland resident Bruce Stanford. “Always came from behind, always fought hard, never gave up. We can’t be any more proud of these boys, they represented Cumberland so well.”
Coach Belisle echoed those words to his team Monday, minutes after the loss.
“You’re going to take that for the rest of your life for what you provided for a town, you had the whole place jumping right? You had the whole state jumping. You had New England jumping!”
Monday was the third time during the Little League World Series that the recreation department opened the park for a watch party.