COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — For Coeur d’Alene Little League, this year marks two straight Idaho state titles, two straight Northwest Regional appearances, and hopefully, two straight trips to Williamsport.
"It’s turning into a tradition here," remarked CDA Manager Robin Franklin. "What those boys did last year was amazing and the whole town was behind them. This year we have a completely different group of boys and coaches. I think they’re ready to take on the challenge."
"We know that if they made it, then we can make it also," said first baseman Kyle Johnson. "Our coaches think we’re as good or better than the team last year."
As Coach Franklin mentioned, none of the boys on this year’s squad were on last year's team, so they got to witness how Coeur d’Alene embraced that squad from home.
"It was crazy for tens of thousands of people to just rally around 13 people," remarked CDA outfielder Braden Meredith. "I wanted to be in the spotlight too. I didn’t want to be the team that didn’t go and messed up the tradition."
"From afar, it was overwhelming watching the way the community rallied around those boys," said Franklin. "We’re starting to see some of the same thing with this group and it’s amazing. We’re flattered, humbled, and excited. We want to go out and represent Coeur d’Alene as best we can."
There’s no doubt the town will be proud this year too.
When the team was asked why this squad is special, the same word kept coming up.
"We’re just like brothers," said Johnson.
"We’re like brothers to each other," said Meredith.
"They’re like brothers," said Franklin. "They play so well in the field. I’ve never coached a team that’s been this close."
So the brothers now will set out to conquer one more goal.
"That’s my dream to go to Williamsport," said Meredith. "It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity so let’s hope I make that happen."
"It would be amazing to me," said Johnson. "Because my parents would be really proud of me and I get to spend another week, two weeks of baseball with my boys."
Coeur d'Alene's first game at the Northwest Regional is next Monday, August 5th at 9 AM PT against the winner of Wyoming and Washington. You can watch the game on ESPN+.