LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) --Perhaps the success of the Mountain Ridge All-Stars was summed up best by Drew Laspaluto.
"It's been a privilege getting to play with these guys, and playing against other good ball players," the Mountain Ridge infielder told News 3 on Saturday as the team was honored for its recent fourth place finish in the Little League World Series. "I'm happy we had this experience even though we lost, we wall player our hearts out so that's what matters."
It was Laspaluto who hit a double to clear the bases for three runs in the first inning last Saturday as Mountain Ridge battled Chicago in the U.S. Championship game in South Williamsport, Pa.
Chicago overcame the 3-0 deficit to take a 7-5 win in the title game. The next day Mountain Ridge fell to Japan 5-0 and Chicago lost to South Korean for the world champsionship.
But the Mountain Ridge players and coaches and family members made memories that should last a lifetime as they became the first team from the Silver State to quality for the LLWS.
The family of Dillon Jones spoke to News 3 about the team's success.
"We're trying to instill in our son that if you put your mind to anything and work hard you can achieve great things," father James Jones said. "And if your goal is all the way up here and you get this close to it, hey, you've won. Most people don't even get halfway to their goals."
Las Vegans followed the team during their historic run to the LLWS including a watch party at the Stratosphere Theater that drew some 500 people. Hundreds greeted the team as it arrived Monday night at McCarran International Airport on its return flight from Philadelphia.
Saturday morning was filled with pride and even a surprise or two. Legendary former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkianian was on hand to give an autographed basketball to Mountain Ridge manager Ashton Cave.
There some 300 fans gathered to honor the team at City Hall before it took a double-deck bus down Las Vegas Boulevard to Town Square for another ceremony.
"Four our Little League to do what they did it's even a bigger deal and it makes baseball even better," Las Vegan Kerri Clark said.