SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island is rallying around the Smithfield Little League team as they prepare for the World Series.
A drive-through fundraiser organized by supporters of the Smithfield Little League was held Monday afternoon at Deerfield Park Senior Center.
The pep rally was organized to raise money for the team to help with lodging, meals and other expenses while they are in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
“We are getting the community together. We are getting the state together. We are rallying,” Acting Smithfield Little League President Shanyn Turner said. “We want the boys to know [they’ve] got all of this tremendous support.”
House Speaker Joe Shekarchi, Rep. Gregory Costantino, and former Rep. Bernard Hawkins have each pledged $1,000, and are challenging other public officials to contribute as well.
Smithfield is playing in the Little League World Series for the first time in 72 years after beating New York in the Metro Region Finals.
Players tell 12 News that making it to the World Series, as well as the support they have received from the community, has been “unbelievable.”
“It’s really cool having your whole town and state and region rooting for you,” Connor Queenan said.
Since 2001, a team from Rhode Island has made the Little League World Series nine times, the most of any team in New England.
Lincoln and Cumberland have played in Williamsport twice, while Cranston-Western, Warwick-North, Coventry and Barrington each made it once.
Smithfield’s first game is set for Wednesday at 3 p.m. against Nevada. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.