Little league team's fun paves way for success

In her 27 years of coaching little league, Sue Tegarden has never seen a group quite like these 8-year-olds at the Northwest Youth Baseball League in St. Petersburg.

"They all get along, there's a really good comradery with this group," said Tegarden. "I would say that's a good reason why we're winning a lot of games, too."

Plain and simple, these kids are having fun. It's not about the wins and losses. All they want to is to keep playing together.

"I just like playing it and having fun with my teammates," said the team's shortstop, Noah Rodriguez.

In their eyes, it's easy to explain why they have fun.

"Just how much we play together," said first baseman Carter Land.

But, the excitement isn't limited to the baseball diamond.

"Like screaming, running down the halls in the hotel, it's a blast!" said outfielder Michael Marley.

In the midst of living it up, the boys have found success on the field.

These all-stars are winning so much, they'll play in a regional tournament in North Carolina against seven other teams from around the Southeast. The most surprising thing about all of this is the fact this team has only been together since May.

"I've come in fourth in state, I've come in third  in state, then I had two second places the last two years, and we finally got the first this year," said Tegarden.

After over two decades, Tegarden's team made it to the final tournament. Ironically enough, this year is her last season with the all-stars.

She'll keep coaching, but not competitively. The boys have plans -- big plans -- if they go out on top.

"Celebrate," said Carter. "Probably go back to the hotel and jump in the pool with our jerseys on."

"We've been working with these kids a long time, so it's really paid off," said Tegarden.

Are these kids like a set of children for her?

"Some of them and at times!" laughed Tegarden. "At times I want them, and at times I want their parents to take them back!"

But the one thing she wouldn't give back is the years and years of memories she's made with a bunch just like this one.

"That's what I'm talking about with these kids," she added. "They always put things into perspective for you."

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