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Airport Rally Greets Pearland Little Leaguers

Celebration is held for gritty baseball team

Houston Airport System
September 1, 2010

© Houston Airport System
Welcome home banners and members of the local media were both waiting for players at IAH

Not one member of the team has yet reached their fourteenth birthday, but each of them has already built up enough memories to last a lifetime.

The Pearland, Texas Little League baseball team returned home to the Houston area on August 30, after completing an amazing run at the Little League World Series (LLWS) competition in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The homecoming took place inside Terminal A at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and included extensive coverage from members of the local media and repeated messages of congratulations from proud Houstonians.

“I didn’t realize how much the city was supporting the boys,” said team coach Mike Orlendo. “So it’s amazing to see it in person and the people have just been amazing.” Team members say they knew their homecoming was going to be special when they were informed that a water arch would be waiting for their arrival near the jet bridge at gate A-17.

Once the Embraer 175 aircraft began taxiing toward the gate, positioned trucks from the Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) team launched their personal salute to the young men, as the boys anxiously strained to catch a glimpse through the aircraft windows.

Once inside the terminal facility, a huge round of applause erupted for the young men who had advanced through the tournament all the way to the national championship game.

“It feels awesome,” said player Jorge Gutierrez. “It was always a dream of mine to play in the World Series and to have that dream come true is really cool.”

For the team from Pearland, it was an incredible ending to an absolutely amazing experience. National attention grew larger and larger with each LLWS victory, until finally a chance to play the international all-stars for the world title was actually in sight.

Unfortunately the local team fell slightly short of that lofty goal, but it certainly didn’t damper the spirits of those participating in the IAH homecoming celebration.

As smiling team members shuffled past “welcome home” banners hanging at IAH, each person involved realized that this moment represented something truly special.

“This is amazing because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said player Jaron Roblier. “And nobody can ever take it away from us.”

Copyright © 2010 - Houston Airport System

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