A police motorcade led the fanfare for today’s parade for the Honolulu Little League All Stars, who made Hawaii proud last month by beating South Korea to become the 2018 Little League World Series Champions.
Gov. David Ige and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell threw shakas ahead of a bright-red fire truck that carried the 14 baseball teammates and their three coaches several blocks from Tamarind Park to Honolulu Hale. The boys beamed as family, friends and fans cheered and the band played Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”
The All Stars defeated South Korea, 3-0, on Aug. 26 in South Williamsport, Pa. It was the first shutout in a title game since 2002. Hawaii bested Peachtree Little League from Georgia by an identical score to win the national crown.
After the parade, on the lawn at Honolulu Hale, bands played, people feasted on pork and rice, shave ice and hot dogs donated by local businesses and the Little Leaguers signed autographs with a coolness that masked their youth.
Hawaii’s political leaders gave effusive speeches about what the team’s win meant to the residents of Hawaii.
“Thank you so much for being humble, thank you so much for being ambassadors of aloha, but most importantly, thank you so much for being the inspiration for all of us in the islands to really do our best to be part of the team,” Ige told the players who joined him on a stage.
Caldwell said the Honolulu Little League All Stars demonstrated the value of hard work and focus.
“They kept their eyes on the prize. And they worked as a team — as a team supporting each other — from the smallest, skinniest guy to ‘Big Sexy,’” said Caldwell, referring to the nickname of Sean Yamaguchi, a charismatic player who has attracted thousands of Instagram followers.
Other players on the 2018 Little League World Series Champions are Bruce Boucher, Kory Chu, Tanner Chun, John Dela Cruz, Ka‘olu Holt, Aukai Kea, Mana Lau Kong, Chandler Murray, Hunter Nishina, Taylin Oana, Caleb Okada, Jace Souza and Zachary Won.