HOUSTON, TX (KTRE) - Thirteen Angelina County teenagers were given a glimpse at their possible and it was all thanks to the Houston Astros.
The team members and coaches of the Lufkin Little League All-Stars were treated to a day at the park by the Houston Astros on Saturday.
The team and their families gathered early and the players and coaches were given a personal tour of the clubhouse and team facilities by Reid Ryan, the team's president.
Included in the tour was a brief meet up with Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, a look at the scouting and hitting facilities, a brief talk with manager A.J. Hinch and time on the field of Minute Maid Park before being honored in the pre-game festivities.
"Anytime you have a team from Texas win the Little League World Series it is a big deal," Ryan said. "When you have one from a town as close as Lufkin, it is even better.
The team was being honored for winning the U.S. Championship at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania last month. It was also a special day for manager Bud Maddox. Today was bud's 69th birthday.
"I have been to too many Astros games to remember," Maddox said. "I remember the first one. I was at the first game in the Dome when the team played the Yankees. I have been to several here too. I don't think any can beat this one."
For the players the moment was surreal. Many of them were awestruck at what they were doing. A few months ago they were playing on the fields of Morris Franks Park and then in Williamsport in front of 20,000 people. Now the players are standing in the shadows of Major League Players.
"It is amazing," catcher Chandler Spencer said. "I mean look at it. It is huge."
Some of the players could be seen imagining themselves on the field. Collin Ross took time to throw a ball. He had one thing on his mind.
"I want to do it out there someday," Ross said.
As the players got autographs, they were still amazed that many of the players knew who they were.
"I feel like a major leaguer," pitcher Mark Requena said. "I was on TV and major Leaguers watched the Little League World Series."
This experience for the team was the icing on the cake of a long summer.
"I never thought I would have won the U.S. Championship or been here meeting all the Houston Astros," second basemen Malcolm Deason said.
"Gosh these boys nearly worked themselves to death and it shows that hard work pays off," Maddox said.
Last weekend, the Texas Rangers also honored the team as well.
The Astros won 8 to 6 over the Seattle Mariners.