PENFIELD, N.Y. (WROC) — Last year the Town of Penfield was unable to host the New York State Little League Championship games due to the COVID-19 shutdown. This year, baseball is in full swing again with eight teams from across the state in our area competing for the chance to go to regionals.
Greg Kamp, 2021 Chair of the Little League Championship, said he’s never seen a group of players so excited. “They are jumping out of their uniforms,” Kamp said.
According to Kamp, these games are a community affair through and through, “and it truly is from sponsorships to fans coming out.”
With eight teams participating, some as from as far away as Long Island and Staten Island — Kamp said to expect some big total numbers this week to Penfield. Around 3,000 to 3,500 hundred fans come into the games with more expected this weekend.
“The boys have been training all summer and playing…you can hear the crowd going crazy!” says Sherri Jacobs from Long Island.
“It means a lot, especially to prove that our league’s still got it,” says Madison Francis.
Those visitation numbers are positive news for the region that is still trying to recover from the pandemic shutdown. The fans attend for the week and ready to spend.
“We need to get food and stuff, go out to eat near the hotel. We’re going to do some sightseeing,” Dan Ackerman said, who drove to Penfield from Long Island.
The town supervisor said this championship, will mean big bucks for the immediate area. 70 cents from every dollar spent stays in Penfield.
“Getting back and being able to serve their base again, and then serving people who are coming into our community it just priceless,” said Penfield Town Supervisor Tony LaFountain.
Kamp said Little League is back — and it’s about time. “[The players] were definitely ready to go with this and just as happy as everyone else that at least we’re somewhat out of COVID.”
The games conclude in Penfield on August 1st. The winning team at the end will head to Bristol, Connecticut for Little League Regionals — one step away from the Little League World Series.
The following teams will be in Penfield competing:
Colonie Little League (Albany Area)
East Meadow Little League (Long Island)
Fairport Little League
Merrick Bellmore Little League (Long Island)
Mid Island Little League (Staten Island)
Rotterdam Carman Little League (Albany Region)
Rye Little League (New York City Region)
Vestal Little League (Syracuse Region)