The central Iowa city of Johnston is getting a lot of attention as a team from the community represents the Midwest Region in the Little League World Series.
The team upset a team from California in their first game, and Mayor Paula Dierenfeld says the community is buzzing. Dierenfeld says she can’t go anywhere without someone mentioning it. She says she took her husband today to have surgery on a kidney stone, and the doctors and nurses in the operating room were asking him about it. “It’s really exciting for the community and we couldn’t be more proud of our boys.”
Dierenfeld saw the team win their first game at a local watch party and says it was hard to stop smiling as the national broadcast highlighted the city. “We are very proud of our community and when we can get that kind of national attention, it makes us all proud,” Dierenfeld says. Residents of the Des Moines suburb were anxiously awaiting the team’s second game Sunday when it was announced it would be postponed due to heavy rains that made the outfield unplayable.
“It was disappointing that we weren’t able to watch them play yesterday– but the excitement continues and they’re scheduled to play again tonight. We will probably see some great response at the watch parties as well, just in people’s homes or at gathering points in our community,” according to Dierenfeld. She talks about the mood of anticipation for tonight’s game.
“We’re anxious, we’re excited, we’re hopeful that the boys will continue through the series play,” Dierenfeld says. “But regardless of how far they go, they’ve already far exceeded expectations.” Johnston is the first Iowa representative at the Little League World Series to win their opener. Dierenfeld says there will be many people outside the community pulling for the team too.
“We’re particularly proud because it is the Johnston, Iowa team. But when any sports team at any level makes it that far in their competition — then they truly do become an Iowa team,” Dierenfeld says. “And you’re going to see Iowans from across the state watch them as they continue to play and be supportive of them.”
The Johnston team takes a the team from Bowling Green, Kentucky which represents the Great Lakes Region at 7 p.m.
Photo courtesy of the Courtesy of Little League Baseball and Softball.