Skip to main content

Little League Begins With Big Burst of ‘Penn College Pride’

Pennsylvania College of Technology proudly welcomed some Most Valuable Players to Williamsport on Wednesday, hosting its eighth annual picnic for the 16 teams in the Little League Baseball World Series. In a laid-back atmosphere before tournament play begins Thursday, the athletes, coaches and umpires relaxed under tents outside the Bush Campus Center before taking part in the Grand Slam Parade down West Fourth Street. This year’s Grand Marshal was Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, a 14-time All-Star and two-time National League MVP with the Cincinnati Reds, who mingled on campus for a memorable start to the Series. The day’s festivities caught the attention of media covering the teams, including a report from Time Warner Cable and video from the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin in New York’s Southern Tier (following the Mid-Atlantic representatives from Maine-Endwell Little League in Endwell, New York).

— Photos by Tia G. La, student photographer, and Tom Wilson, writer/editor-PCToday

Quite possibly the greatest catcher in Major League history, Bench greets Little Leaguers with a hearty, “Hello, winners!” before delivering an inspirational and encouraging message on the eve of Series play.
Quite possibly the greatest catcher in Major League history, Bench greets Little Leaguers with a hearty, “Hello, winners!” before delivering an inspirational and encouraging message on the eve of Series play.

A campus landmark, “The Rock” welcomes Little Leaguers to Williamsport …
A campus landmark, “The Rock” welcomes Little Leaguers to Williamsport …

... and tacitly invites exploration by those gathered atop and around.
… and tacitly invites exploration by those gathered atop and around.

The Mexico team from San Nicolas Little League alights from a River Valley Transit bus to be greeted by a college contingent outside the Bush Campus Center.
The Mexico team from San Nicolas Little League alights from a River Valley Transit bus to be greeted by a college contingent outside the Bush Campus Center.

A pennant-worthy group of campus volunteers shares a memorable moment with a Hall of Famer.
A pennant-worthy group of campus volunteers shares a memorable moment with a Hall of Famer.

Makoto Nagase, back at the LLWS as a coach, was a catcher on Japan's 1976 team.
Makoto Nagase, back at the LLWS as a coach, was a catcher on Japan’s 1976 team.

Picnic and parade volunteers share a photo op with college President Davie Jane Gilmour, who also serves as chair of the Little League International Board of Directors.
Picnic and parade volunteers share a photo op with college President Davie Jane Gilmour, who also serves as chair of the Little League International Board of Directors.

Adversaries on the field, allies in the chow line
Adversaries on the field, allies in the chow line

Baseball seed packets were among the items distributed by college representatives.
Baseball seed packets were among the items distributed by college representatives.

An all-star keepsake
An all-star keepsake

A little friendliness goes a long way, traveling across the world and transcending language.
A little friendliness goes a long way, traveling across the world and transcending language.

A member of the Mexico squad adds to a one-of-a-kind souvenir for student Bryan M. Behm.
A member of the Mexico squad adds to a one-of-a-kind souvenir for student Bryan M. Behm.

President Gilmour officially welcomes the 16 teams in the Little League Baseball World Series, recounting their phenomenal successes all along the tournament road to South Williamsport.
President Gilmour officially welcomes the 16 teams in the Little League Baseball World Series, recounting their phenomenal successes all along the tournament road to South Williamsport.

The college mascot's welcoming vibe directs guests to the food tent.
The college mascot’s welcoming vibe directs guests to the food tent.

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ Baja competition vehicle, a traditional part of the college's parade presence.
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ Baja competition vehicle, a traditional part of the college’s parade presence.

Bench obliged countless photo requests from players, any one of whom could follow in his footsteps.
Bench obliged countless photo requests from players, any one of whom could follow in his footsteps.

Michael Wallis, who once roomed near campus as a 22-year-old outfielder for the former Williamsport Cubs minor-league team, has returned to Williamsport as a coach for the Southwest entry. Son Caden is an outfielder for the McAllister Park American Little League in San Antonio, Texas – the same position his father played during the 1998 season at Bowman Field.
Michael Wallis, who once roomed near campus as a 22-year-old outfielder for the former Williamsport Cubs minor-league team, has returned to Williamsport as a coach for the Southwest entry. Son Caden is an outfielder for the McAllister Park American Little League in San Antonio, Texas – the same position his father played during the 1998 season at Bowman Field.

Members of President's Council form a friendly first point of contact on the Campus Center lawn.
Members of President’s Council form a friendly first point of contact on the Campus Center lawn.

Mexico teammates savor the moment.
Mexico teammates savor the moment.

Wildcat baseball coach Chris Howard, also a former big-league catcher, reunites with Johnny Bench on campus Wednesday. The two played in the same foursome in a golf tournament as part of the 1986 Major League Baseball All-Star Game; Howard was a student at the University of Oklahoma.
Wildcat baseball coach Chris Howard, also a former big-league catcher, reunites with Johnny Bench on campus Wednesday. The two played in the same foursome in a golf tournament as part of the 1986 Major League Baseball All-Star Game; Howard was a student at the University of Oklahoma.

Tina R. Strayer, on-boarding/professional development manager, instantly makes the West team feel at home upon arrival.
Tina R. Strayer, on-boarding/professional development manager, instantly makes the West team feel at home upon arrival.

Team members from Tokyo's Chofu Little League sign the T-shirts of event volunteers Lindsey A. King (left) and Megan L. Ripka.
Team members from Tokyo’s Chofu Little League sign the T-shirts of event volunteers Lindsey A. King (left) and Megan L. Ripka.

A banner day for Williamsport and Penn College
A banner day for Williamsport and Penn College

The Caribbean champs, from Pariba Little League in Willemstad, Curacao, pose for a team photo before a Penn College backdrop.
The Caribbean champs, from Pariba Little League in Willemstad, Curacao, pose for a team photo before a Penn College backdrop.

Before making on-field memories, players leave their mark on a campus centerpiece.
Before making on-field memories, players leave their mark on a campus centerpiece.

The president and a stalwart band of students headline the Penn College float ...
The president and a stalwart band of students headline the Penn College float …

... themed around forest technology and other majors that help "Make It Green."
… themed around forest technology and other majors that help “Make It Green.”

With a playfully intimidating stare and a right hand that was famously photographed holding seven baseballs, Bench dominates this high-five.
With a playfully intimidating stare and a right hand that was famously photographed holding seven baseballs, Bench dominates this high-five.

A paradegoer excitedly snags a college giveaway.
A paradegoer excitedly snags a college giveaway.

Morgan N. Keyser, one of the day's student liaisons, gets acquainted with players from Hills Little League in Sydney, Australia.
Morgan N. Keyser, one of the day’s student liaisons, gets acquainted with players from Hills Little League in Sydney, Australia.

Enthusiasm lines West Fourth Street
Enthusiasm lines West Fourth Street

The Midwest representative, from Iowa's Johnston Little League, takes its turn with a baseball legend.
The Midwest representative, from Iowa’s Johnston Little League, takes its turn with a baseball legend.

Engaging a future alumna?
Engaging a future alumna?

Off-campus housing offers a convenient vantage for the passing spectacle.
Off-campus housing offers a convenient vantage for the passing spectacle.

Kimberly R. Cassel, director of student activities, and son Cai happily acknowledge the familiar faces passing by.
Kimberly R. Cassel, director of student activities, and son Cai happily acknowledge the familiar faces passing by.

Who's our favorite mascot anywhere? It's you-know-who, hands down ... and paws up!
Who’s our favorite mascot anywhere? It’s you-know-who, hands down … and paws up!

No stranger to the media attention drawn to Little League's international stage, President Gilmour deftly honors an interview request.
No stranger to the media attention drawn to Little League’s international stage, President Gilmour deftly honors an interview request.

The West team from Park View Little League in Chula Vista, Calif., settles in for some pregame enjoyment.
The West team from Park View Little League in Chula Vista, Calif., settles in for some pregame enjoyment.

Courting a lifelong learner with a green-thumb giveaway.
Courting a lifelong learner with a green-thumb giveaway.

Players watch last year's Series final while waiting for parade formation.
Players watch last year’s Series final while waiting for parade formation.

Curious onlookers take to the street for a closer look at the Baja vehicle.
Curious onlookers take to the street for a closer look at the Baja vehicle.

Wildcat warmth for the Latin American team, hailing this year from Aguadulce Cabezera Little League in Aguadulce, Panama.
Wildcat warmth for the Latin American team, hailing this year from Aguadulce Cabezera Little League in Aguadulce, Panama.

Canada teammates from Hastings Community Little League in Vancouver, British Columbia, prove that "game faces" aren't just for baseball.
Canada teammates from Hastings Community Little League in Vancouver, British Columbia, prove that “game faces” aren’t just for baseball.

A bounty of burgers, dogs, mac 'n' cheese ...
A bounty of burgers, dogs, mac ‘n’ cheese …

... and don't forget dessert!
… and don’t forget dessert!

The college entourage travels past City Hall.
The college entourage travels past City Hall.

A new take on "creative writing"
A new take on “creative writing”

The president photographs a winning lineup.
The president photographs a winning lineup.

Walter J. Shultz Jr., director of the college's Office of Instructional Technology, helps the Wildcat navigate the fan-filled throng.
Walter J. Shultz Jr., director of the college’s Office of Instructional Technology, helps the Wildcat navigate the fan-filled throng.

Fans of the West team make clear their allegiance.
Fans of the West team make clear their allegiance.

Say "Hi" to the Southeast champions, representing Goodlettsville Baseball Little League in Goodlettsville, Tenn.
Say “Hi” to the Southeast champions, representing Goodlettsville Baseball Little League in Goodlettsville, Tenn.

The Wildcat in its natural habitat, dead-center in a swarm of smiles
The Wildcat in its natural habitat, dead-center in a swarm of smiles

This year's Asia-Pacific team hails from South Korea's East Seoul Little League.
This year’s Asia-Pacific team hails from South Korea’s East Seoul Little League.

The DIRECTV blimp flies over campus during the picnic.
The DIRECTV blimp flies over campus during the picnic.