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Ahee

Families will enjoy trip to Williamsport


August 15, 2013
Many baseball players are known to have superstitious quirks.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander said he has Taco Bell the night before he pitches. Manager Jim Leyland refused to wash his lucky boxers during a playoff run in 2011. Some have lucky numbers and bats, others have strange eating habits. Most have a ritual they do before and during games.

Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores Little League outfielder Jackson Vyletel has a chain he wears around his neck up until game time, when all jewelry comes off by Little League rules. He hands it to his mother through the fence.

"He's done that since he's been on the team," Maggie Vyletel, of Grosse Pointe Woods, said. "We won't change that in Williamsport."

Vyletel will travel there with her husband, Andy, and their two daughters to cheer for Jackson and his team. The team was in Williamsport on Monday.

"They've played really well together and it's a wonderful experience," she said.

As far as superstitions, parents have their own.

"Everybody has their own thing," Vyletel said. "Some pace. Some stand. We all go through our routines and handle it differently."

She said this team works as a unit and stays on an even keel. Jackson, 12, has played baseball since he was 5.

"Jackson has played with some of his teammates for three years and some are newer, but they all get along very well.

It's been fun for the parents, too. We've had dinner for 20 or more on the road, played cards and enjoyed this year."

Vyletel said the attention from Little League Baseball and television coverage by ESPN has been handled well.

"They've done promo shots with ESPN and they show the boys how everything works," she said. "They've been really good to them. So has Little League. When we won last weekend, they put us all in the cafeteria at Little League Central and told us to soak it all in and enjoy this trip.

There's a parade, opening ceremonies and then the games begin. We can't wait."

And the players, who have worked hard, enjoy limited down time bonding with one another.

"They've watched the Tigers play, played Wii video games and there's a lot of card tricks," Vyletel said. "It's been a lot of fun."

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Ed Rinke