LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The "Thundering 13" made their first public appearances in Lufkin Thursday night after clinching a spot in the Little League World Series in Williamsport , Pennsylvania.
The boys showed up to Brookshire Brothers in their full uniforms to receive a special gift.
As their hometown grocer, the chain wanted to help 'fuel' their trip with a $300 gift card and a bag full of snacks for each player and coach for the plane trip and stay in the Little League compound. Brookshire Brothers will sell the orange rally towels starting next week with all proceeds benefiting the families' travel expenses to Williamsport.
The big draw of the night cam Whataburger.
"This is a lot different from all of our other fundraisers we do," said Maci Dover, a spokeswoman for Whataburger. "100 percent of all the proceeds tonight will go to the team."
The resturant remained packed for the three hours they held the fundraiser. The team also took donations and signed baseballs to the biggest fans.
"I expected a little bit of fans because everybody likes baseball," player Kolby Kovar said. "People like watching winning but I didn't expect this. They gave us a lot."
With more events scheduled for Friday, the team is not done receiving praise from their fans.
"It's unreal," manager Bud Maddux said. "Lufkin is a great town. It has been that way for a long time and they come out and support people."
The team's first game in Williamsport will be on August 17 at 7 p.m. against the Great Lakes Region winner. That team will be known after their championship game on Saturday. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2.