The Little League World Series begins this week, and making the trek to Williamsport, Pennsylvania will be a team from Minnesota.
Coon Rapids-Andover qualified for the international tournament by winning the Midwest Regional, which included the top Little League team Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.
Now the boys, and one girl, from the northern Twin Cities metro area will represent the Midwest Region on the biggest stage in Little League baseball as they open play Thursday against the Great Lakes Region, a team from Bowling Green, Kentucky.
The game will be televised at approximately 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
But getting the team and families of the 13 boys and one girl to Pennsylvania is expensive, and a GoFundMe has been launched to help families pay for the trip.
The fundraiser was started by the parents of the players, and says all proceeds will "assist the team and their families with travel expenses for this once-in-a lifetime opportunity."
As of Wednesday morning the fundraiser had generated approximately $6,000 of a $28,000 goal.
The money will be split evenly between the families of the 14 players:
- Jameson Kuznia
- Cayden Alphin
- Maddie Freking
- Jack Brandl
- Drew Law
- Carson Timm
- Jaxon Knutson
- Wyatt Myers,
- Logan Nistler
- Lukas Squier
- Brett Buettner
- Cameron Sakry
- Tyler Phillips
- Dylan Bloom
If Coon Rapids-Andover wins Thursday night, they'll advance to face the New England Region or the Southeast Region on Sunday. If they lose, they will face an elimination game on Saturday to stay in the competition.
Fun fact: Maddie Freking is the 19th girl to appear in the Little League World Series, and the first since 2014, according to Patch. The last Minnesota girl to play in the tournament was Krissy Wendell in 1994, and she, of course, went on to become a superstar hockey player for the Gophers and a team captain for the U.S. national team.
Since 2001, the only other Minnesota teams to reach the Little League World Series are the Coon Rapids-Andover All-Stars from 2007, and the Plymouth-New Hope All-Stars from 2010.