HAMILTON, Ohio — Members of Hamilton West Side Little League team, who represented their city to the world as runners-up in the Little League World Series, rode through downtown streets in Corvettes Thursday night as hundreds of fans cheered for them.
"It's been unbelievable,” said Gage Maggard, who plays second base for the team. “First, we get home, and we have a parade straight away. Next, knowing we have another parade with Corvettes — it's just crazy.”
It was the ride of a lifetime for the 14 boys and their three coaches, who won round after round of the Little League World Series before falling 5-2 to Michigan in the championship game.
Their well-wishers Thursday included parents, friends, Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller and Kim Nuxhall, son of late Cincinnati sports legend Joe Nuxhall.
“I kept thinking, ‘What would Dad say to this group? What would he love about this group?’” Nuxhall said. “He'd love the Pete Rose in them. The grit, determination, that not giving up. The resilience."
— Jake Ryle (@JakeWCPO) September 3, 2021
And he had a guess for what his father’s advice would be for the team: “Be a better person than you are a ball player. You see the little boy in the wheelchair who didn’t get to play ball this summer? We want you to be the ones to help him. Be good leaders in our community. We need you.”
Moeller, the mayor, praised the team for providing the community with an inspiring story and bringing them together to cheer for the team.
"Thank you for allowing us, the entire city of Hamilton, to share your journey,” he said. “All 63,000 of us shared the highs and lows of the championship."
The celebration isn’t over yet. Each of the West Side Wonders will receive a proclamation at the next meeting of City Council.
When asked how many people attended the parade, center fielder Krew Brown wasn’t sure.
“A lot. A lot of people,” he said. “More than I can probably count."