Johnston Community Watches Little Leaguers

By Jacob Peklo | jpeklo@weareiowa.com

Published 08/22 2016 11:53PM

Updated 08/22 2016 11:53PM

JOHNSTON - Our eyes have been watching the greatness of a Central Iowa team, as it shows its stuff in the Little League World Series.

On Monday, Johnston eyed a historic victory in Williamsport, while their buddies back home continues to back them.

It's the first time an Iowa team has been in the tourney since 2013, and this team is trying to show its fans why they deserve to be here. After their big win Friday, they're already playing with house money.

There's a sizzle around this Johnson baseball team.

"I was born and raised here in Johnston. I graduated from Johnston. A lot of my kids go to school with these kids,” said Brian Lee, the owner of Doc’s Lounge in Johnston. “It’s pretty exciting to see them on national TV, get some recognition and they're making Johnston proud."

The team is garnering plenty of national attention, and in the metro, Lee has admired their play. 

"They've been on the road for three or four weeks straight. So, as much fun as it is to watch your kids play ball, but it gets expensive, so we're doing a little something to help give back,” said Lee.

So, Lee is taking donations for the team, and is willing to match up to $500 for little league families.

Across town, the Johnston Hy-Vee packed out its market grille with fans, who want to witness history.

“It was really cool, especially to see when they were interviewing his mom, that he was able to hit that home run, it was like he was watching out for her,” said Jesse Valdez, a former teammate of several Johnston little leaguers.

Mark Strub has coached many of these kids and his son, Kegan, played with them on the field.

"I thought they had the quality to go on, during regionals and state play I told Kegan to come down and watch, because I thought they had the quality to go on,” said Strub.

Now, they're cheering them on, while chowing down, and their style is winning over new fans as well. 

"They just stayed relaxed and they talk to each other and they just focus on the game."

I don't have to tell you how rare a quality that is for kids to have. It's the discipline and skill that will allow this team to bounce back from a toss loss like Monday’s.

 

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