Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores pitcher Anthony Moceri delivers a pitch during the consolation game against the Czech Republic at the Little League World Series in Williamsport. photo by Josh Brokaw.
August 29, 2013The Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores Little League team that just returned home from the Little League World Series will have to make a return to reality this week.
"This has been far from reality for the kids," said Mark Lorkowski, father of infielder/pitcher Chad, as he watched the team's consolation game against the Czech Republic at Lamade Stadium, which has a capacity of about 40,000.
During the World Series run, Chad earned plenty of media attention for his outsized frame and personality, including a feature in the New York Times.
"Chad doesn't know about that stuff on the front page," Lorkowski said. "He's walking around here like a rock star. He's not a rock star. He's been looking out his dorm, and this is what he sees every day."
The Grosse Pointe players as a whole earned plenty of attention around the Little League complex, which includes two beautifully manicured fields around which lines of kids and adults meander, looking for autographs from the players.
"All week they've been signing autographs and taking pictures," Lorkowski said. "Chad said 'I'm so tired, Dad.' I said 'it's the only time people will be begging for your autograph. Enjoy it.'"
The road to Williamsport was a long one for players, coaches, and the friends and families that followed the team.
"We left on July 17 to go to states," said Dominic Mocieri, father of pitcher/outfielder Antonio.
Though Grosse Pointe didn't get in the win column in South Williamsport, those watching couldn't be disappointed in their boys. The team gave California its toughest test before that team lost to Japan in the championship game, a 3-0 loss that was 0-0 going into extra innings when Chad Lorkowski had to leave the mound due to pitch count rules.
In its second game against Iowa, Grosse Pointe came back from a 6-0 deficit to fall just short of staying in title contention with a 6-5 loss.
"They played determined to the end," league president Dick Borland said. "It's very hard to just get out of our district. These boys have worked so hard. We've got support from the whole state – teams were calling from the UP to cheer us on and wish them well."