Sleepy Slugger Bids World Series ‘Adieu’

David Pine seemed barely able to stay awake, at times resting his eyes or laying his head on his parents' kitchen table while his mother kept urging him to wake up.

But his utter exhaustion can be forgiven; it's been a whirlwind summer for the 12-year-old from Newtown.

After all, his Council Rock-Newtown baseball squad just returned on Aug. 25 from the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., ending months of nothing-but-baseball, seven-days-a-week. He started middle school four days later.

Indeed, life never seems to slow down for this seventh-grader: His first meeting for Newtown Middle School's football team was scheduled for the next afternoon.

And don't forget about his Bar Mitzvah at Shir Ami-Bucks County Jewish Congregation, which is practically around the corner in January – to say nothing about all those Hebrew lessons he missed over the summer.

But for now, at least, Pine and his family want to savor the fact that his team made it to the biggest stage in Little League baseball – with three of their games televised on either ESPN or ESPN 2, even if they didn't ultimately take home the prize as world champions.

"We accomplished what we wanted to," said the catcher, who bats lefty, throws righty, and has a knack for bunting for base hits. "We wanted to make it since the time we were young."

Hard Work to Get There
Young, from his perspective, means age 9.

That's when he and his teammates took to the field, and were told by coaches and parents that if they worked hard enough, they could make it to Williamsport and the Little League World Series, which is open only to 11- and 12-year-olds. (Remember the 2001 controversy surrounding Danny Almonte, the Bronx pitcher who, it was later learned, was 14 when he competed?)

The team got people's attention last summer, when they won Pennsylvania's state championship for 11-year-olds. This year, it started up in June, practicing and/or playing daily, and marching undefeated through district, state and regional tournaments before losing two-of-three in Williamsport, including a 7-1 loss to eventual champs West Oahu, Hawaii, and failing to qualify for the next round of play.

Only eight American teams make it to Williamsport, joining eight others from around the world.

"We ended on a good note," said Pine, referring to the team's last game, a 15-0 route of Iowa.

But wasn't it hard going from being featured on national television to sitting in seventh-grade math barely one week later?

"While we were playing, we didn't really notice that we were, like, on TV," he replied, adding that, "it didn't really bother me."

And the fact that he was the team's sole Jewish player was also "no big deal."

David's proud mother, Sheryl Pine, estimates that she and her husband spent roughly $4,000 on their son's summer of baseball, including uniforms, equipment, hotels and meals out.

"I think I cooked twice this summer," she said, adding that she loved the experience and wouldn't trade it in for anything. "It's like watching your child's dream come true."

The fanfare hasn't stopped. On Sept. 10, Newtown is throwing a parade for the team; on the 12th, the Phillies will be honoring them during a game at Citizens Bank Park. U.S. Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-District 8) has further invited the whole team to Washington, D.C., for a tour of the Capitol.

And then, there's the future.

Of the major leagues, David said: "I hope I can make it."



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