SOUTHWILLIAMSPORT,PA. - Rain cancelled baseball practice. It also made a fishing trip tough.
So the Chandler National team found other ways to stay entertained Monday at the Little League World Series, where no games were played due to inclement weather.
Assistant coach Clay Bellinger set up a visit to Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina’s home. Mussina is a native of and still lives in Montoursville, just a few miles from Lamade Stadium.
“His basketball court is bigger than like four of our houses put together back home,” said third baseman Seth Fretheim. “It was huge.”
Mussina often invites serious local teenage athletes to train with and learn from him at his house, which includes a batting cage, swimming pool and game tables. Though Mussina is playing in Anaheim, Calif., this week with the Yankees, his wife Jana is hosting Clay’s wife Jen for the week. The two remained friends after their husbands were Yankee teammates in 2001.
Assistant Chris McCann said plans were still in place for batting practice and then a movie Monday night as the rain subsided. However, he wasn’t sure how the practice schedule would turn out for today, which will be Chandler’s second straight day off.
Its final pool play game was rescheduled from tonight to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday vs. Coon Rapids, Minn. The winner will advance as Pool B runner-up to the U.S. semifinals, which are now all scheduled as part of a quadrupleheader on Thursday.
Little League officials hoped the new schedule would hold up in the face of another rainy forecast for today, saying it would wait to announce additional contingency plans. AccuWeather forecasts from Monday night called for scattered thunderstorms later in the week followed by warmer, drier conditions for the weekend.
Lubbock, Texas, which beat Chandler 5-1 on Sunday has already advanced as the champion of Pool B because it holds head-to-head tiebreakers over both Chandler and Coon Rapids.
“They’re a good team with good pitchers and hitting, but hopefully we come back from that and play better,” Fretheim said. “Yeah, they’re probably the best team we’ve seen so far.”
Coon Rapids, from a suburb north of the Twin Cities area, rebounded from an opening loss to Lubbock to beat Salisbury, Md., 4-3, Sunday night when Tanner Lowe hit a walkoff home run in the sixth inning, his second homer of the game.
McCann wasn’t sure if the team could work in another good-luck fishing trip before Wednesday night. He’d hoped to take the team to Rose Valley Lake, a secluded forest lake about 10 miles north of Lamade Stadium. Other than baseball, a chance to fish in the Pennsylvania wilds drew Fretheim’s interest.
Its lakes, rivers, and streams are far superior to the manmade, stocked lakes Fretheim settles for back home.
Even better would be a chance to improve upon his biggest catch, which he estimated was five inches.
“Most of us like to fish,” Fretheim said.
“A few guys find it boring, but they’ll go along because it’s good luck.”
Little League World Series
When: Through Sunday
Where: South Williamsport, Pa.
Chandler National results: 1-1 (Defeated Salisbury, Md., 16-6; Lost to Lubbock, Texas, 5-1)
Upcoming schedule: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday vs. Coon Rapids, Minn. (ESPN), final game of pool play.
Rain delay: The semifinals were initially supposed to start Wednesday, with two games that day and two games Thursday. All four semifinal games will now be played Thursday.
The rest of the schedule remains intact, with a day off Friday. The U.S. and international championship games are scheduled for Saturday, with the World Series title to be decided Sunday.