SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Playing video games, going swimming and catching up with old friends can be just as much fun as winning for the youngsters at the Little League World Series.
While the players from Reynosa, Mexico smiled and danced around the field after clinching a berth in the next round with a 13-0 win Monday over Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany, their defeated foes walked slowly off the field and lamented a loss.
But only briefly.
"They're having fun. Look around, this is awesome," Germany manager Ed Prince said. "Everything else, except for this game, has been a ball."
Willemstad, Curacao, was in a much better mood after a 5-3 win over Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, sent them to the international semifinals. Staten Island, N.Y., celebrated Monday night after moving on following an 8-3 victory over Urbandale, Iowa.
Chiba City, Japan, beat Maracaibo, Venezuela, 5-4, then also qualified for the next round by virtue of Curacao's victory. Undefeated Warner Robins, Ga., which is already in the U.S. semis, edged Mercer Island, Wash., 3-2, in the other early game Monday.
Though they cannot move on, Germany will stay in South Williamsport for the rest of the week to watch the rest of the tournament.
That will give Jacob Van Parys, Germany's 13-year-old catcher, a chance to cheer on his former teammates from San Antonio, Texas, who have already clinched a berth in the U.S. semis. Van Parys played on the McAllister Park American league from San Antonio until about two months ago, when his military family was transferred overseas.
It's a remarkable coincidence that Little League officials say has likely never happened before in the recent history of the tournament.