Jackie Robinson West returned to Chicago and received a much-deserved hero's welcome after captivating the city throughout their championship run at the Little League World Series.
The group of boys from Morgan Park became one of the best stories throughout the tournament as they staved off elimination three times to win the United States bracket before falling to South Korea, 8-1, in the championship on Sunday.
"We knew it was something special, so it pushed us through. We tried to make the city proud, we tried to keep going and showing up today, it's ridiculous. It's unbelieveable," said manager Darold Butler. "I don't think it's really going to hit me until I get home and actually sit down and think about exactly what is going on. I'm glad the city was behind us, I'm glad the kids played very well and made everyone proud and that motivated them."
Chicago Sun-Times reporter Seth Gruen, who was out in Williamsport, Pa., covering the team joined SportsTalk Live on Monday to talk about his experience.
"What I imagined it would be like was if the Cubs ever made the World Series," he said. "That's how much everybody was hanging on every ground ball, every at-bat of these 12-year-olds. It was an experience unlike any other.
"Like anything you don't want to lose. These kids became so driven toward this goal. I think when they got a call from the President that kind of went away and they were reminded they were national champions. They were representing their country."
The Jackie Robinson West team will be honored with a parade and rally on Wednesday. You can find details of that here.