Little League champions return home to hero’s welcome

HONOLULU — The 14 boys and three coaches who delivered Hawaii its first Little League World Series title in a decade received a hero’s welcome on their return home.

The team was showered in lei, handed food and greeted by a roaring crowd upon their exit from the Honolulu airport Monday.

The team shook hands with Gov. David Ige, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho and other city officials. The Royal Hawaiian Band played for them as they entered a news conference.

“After the entire state was on edge with the close passage of Hurricane Lane, this team helped us celebrate something positive as we watched their prowess on the baseball diamond which resulted in the first shutout championship game since 2002,” Caldwell said.

The Hawaii boys shut out the South Korea team in the 3-0 championship game Sunday in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The game marked the first time a Hawaii team has won the title since 2008. Hawaii is now one of seven U.S. states with at least three Little League World Series titles.

A parade in Honolulu to recognize the team is in the works, city officials said. Honolulu’s city hall was illuminated Monday night with blue and yellow lights — the team’s colors.

“What made everyone back home even more proud is seeing how these young men are true ambassadors of aloha and treated everyone they met with humility and respect,” Caldwell said. “Governor Ige and I look forward to hosting a hometown parade for the team so that the entire state can celebrate with them.”

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