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‘A dream come true’

Hollidaysburg headed to Little League World Series

The Hollidaysburg Little League team celebrates its win over Delaware, 7-3, Friday afternoon in the Mid-Atlantic Regional final at the Bart Giamatti Training Complex in Bristol, Conn. Photo for the Mirror by Bill Shettle

BRISTOL, Conn. — Hollidaysburg is headed to Williamsport.

The local Little League entry punched its ticket Friday by defeating Delaware, 7-3, in the Mid-Atlantic Regional final at the Bart Giamatti Training Complex.

The championship was the fourth straight title over the past month — sectionals, districts, the state tourney and now the regional — for Hollidaysburg, which will begin play at Williamsport on Thursday night.

It marks the first time a Hollidaysburg or any Blair County team has played in the Little League World Series.

Team manager Jim McGough called the achievement “a dream come true,” and his players agreed.

“It feels amazing,” said standout Chase Link, who homered twice in the regional. “A dream for almost every Little League player. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we’ll do our best to keep having more fun.”

McGough and his son, Ty, the winning pitcher against Delaware, shared a warm embrace after the final out was recorded.

“We’ve been trying to do this for years,” Ty McGough said. “It feels like we’re in a dream right now.”

Braden Hatch, the team’s starting catcher, who also pitched Friday, had tears in his eyes.

“This is the best experience of my life,” he said. “Just being here is great because we had the opportunity to go to Williamsport, and now that we’ve succeeded, we’re going to be there.”

Aware Hollidaysburg is the first local representative to advance to the Little League World Series, Jim McGough acknowledged the vibe he’s felt all month — from families, fans and sponsors.

“The community support we’ve had has been amazing — Hollidaysburg, Blair County, Pennsylvania,” he said. “We felt their support, and the kids really responded. It’s fueled our motivation and our inspiration.”

With its regional championship banner unfurled, Hollidaysburg will now raise the bar in pursuit of a title at Williamsport.

“Once we get in between those white lines, it’s baseball,” Jim McGough said. “We’ll take that same approach in Williamsport.”

As for travel, the Hollidaysburg team stayed here Friday night and left early this morning for Williamsport.

“We get on a bus tomorrow (Saturday) at 7 a.m. and head to Williamsport,” McGough said, smiling. “I have to figure out a way to get my truck home.”

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