HOUSTON - They spent several weeks in the national spotlight, so being on the field at Minute Maid Park before Wednesday night's Astros game wasn't overwhelming for the Pearland Little League All-Stars, but it was special, nonetheless.
"Not my first Astros game, but first time being on the field and getting balls signed," said team member Presley Smith. "It's pretty cool."
"Having the Astros come out, somebody you see on TV everyday in your life -- it's really cool to see MLB players just honoring you," said teammate Brandon Sliwinski.
The big leaguers honored the little guys from Pearland for their playoff season that ended just a few weeks ago. Before the game they were able to snap photos with Astros legend Nolan Ryan, who came downstairs to the clubhouse to meet them. They also scored autographs from several players, including Jose Altuve and pitcher Dallas Keuchel, all to salute the incredible season they had.
Local 2 followed the team of 12-year-olds to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, after they earned a spot in the Little League World Series. They won two games before being eliminated by the eventual champion from Chicago.
Wednesday night's salute topped off that two-week world series run. Neither are experiences these kids will soon forget.
When asked how long he would remember the experience of the last few weeks, Brandon Sliwinski said, "My whole entire life, hopefully. Hopefully it's scarred on to me somewhere."
"The boys, this is the thing they did not get to see," said team manager Don Smith. "The hometown support and the things from the whole community -- the boys got a real kick out of that as well."
There appears to be a budding relationship between the two ball clubs. In addition to honoring the little leaguers Wednesday night, the Astros also sent the team emails, text messages and tweets to encourage them during their World Series run.
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