The 2010 Little League World Series kicked off Friday, and the past and present weather conditions at the tournament were not far from many spectators' minds.
Ron Watkins of Williamsport has been attending the Series for several decades. He can recall several years of severe weather at the Little League World Series, but he remembers one particular year when a helicopter had to be brought in to dry out the field.
Rain has postponed and canceled games in the past, but in 2006, the tournament had to be extended an extra day to accommodate for the weather. The third place game was canceled, and the championship game was moved from Sunday to Monday afternoon.
Troy Kaneshiro, a supporter of the West Region team Waipio from Ouaho, Hawaii, said Friday that the conditions were cooler but more humid than conditions the team had at their regional games in San Bernardino, Calif.
Kaneshiro added that the landscape in South Williamsport was more like his home state of Hawaii than California.
"It's kind of similar to Hawaii in a way with the clouds and the greenery," he said. "I was very surprised coming from San Bernardino where it was very hot and dry."
When it comes to the inclement weather heading to the tournament, Kaneshiro said the team would be ready to handle it.
"We'll just take it as it comes," he said. "Back home in Hawaii we've had hurricanes and we weathered through that so I'm pretty sure, thick or thin, we'll do well."
Waipio played their second game Sunday, when a record-breaking rainfall of 1.33 inches was recorded at the Williamsport/Lycoming Airport from mostly morning showers. The team edged the mid-Atlantic team from Toms River, N.J., with a score of 3-1.
Marilyn Lesko of Mechanicsburg, Pa., was with her two grandsons on opening day. As a seasoned veteran at the Little League World Series, she has seen her fair share of inclement weather at the tournament and she never comes unprepared, bringing ponchos, sunscreen and umbrellas.
Her grandsons were participating in cardboard sledding, a time-honored tradition at the event where children flatten cardboard boxes and use them as sleds on the hill overlooking Lamade Stadium.
Lesko said most kids arrive early to stake claims on cardboard boxes at the stadium, usually discarded by concession stands.
Ben Lesko, 11, said while sliding on muddy conditions is fun, dry and warm weather is better for the sleds, and many put wax and soap on the bottom to speed up.
"It's better when the grass is dry," he said. "The sleds go faster."
Ben added that in rainy weather, many kids opt to slide on garbage bags or just with their bodies.
No matter what the weather will bring to South Williamsport, it certainly won't put a damper on the spirit of Little League Baseball.
"In any case [weather-wise], everywhere is beautiful just being with the boys and watching them play," Kaneshiro said.
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