WILLIAMSPORT, Pennslyvanie (KTRE) - Michael Lundy and Ron Frick were all smiles after Curacao beat Canada 8-1 in an elimination game at the 2019 LLWS.
They sat on the bench inside Lamade Stadium for the occasion as hosts for the Carribean nation. The game came two years after Frick and Lundy where inside the stadium with the Southwest All-Stars from Lufkin. The two men are Little League hosts. Each team at the tournament is given hosts. The men are from the Williamsport area and act as a middle-man for most of the team’s comings and goings. They are also there to be a friend to the players. The hosts have taken on the unofficial term “uncle”.
“If you take my 17 years and Mike’s 12 year that is almost 30 years of teams,” Frick said.
The teams the pair will get are decided early in the summer but not early enough for them to get fully acquainted with the language barrier.
“It is pretty cool getitng to experience the cultures and trying to pretend we understand their languaes,” Lundy said. “Especially the Papiamento this year. Our Spanish is getting better for both ofus. Luckily they speak some Spanish and English but the Papiamento is tough.”
While the two get a new team every year they keep a continuing bond with each team.
“They are still keeping in touch with both of us,” Frick said. “That tells you a lot about the parents and the kids. We are still celebrating birthdays. Mark [Requena celebrated a birthday a day or two ago. We are reaching out on Facebook wishing Happy Birthday. They were special and then went on and won at the Junior level.”
“If you ask my family they will say the Lufkin team was their favorite team,” Lundy said. “I have a daughter the same age as the boys so it was interesting having a daughter around the boys.”
The Curacao team has plenty of talent. Jurdrick Profar is the third Profar brother to play at the LLWS. His older bothers, Jurickson and Juremi also played in Williamsport and are now with MLB organizations.
In 2004 Curacao and Jurickson won the LLWS title for Curacao in 2004 and were runners up to Hawaii in 2005. Frick and Lundy believe one day Lufkin players could be in the Major’s as well.
“We have seen a lot of those players and [Lufkin] has what it takes,” Lundy said. “Great family support and coaching was phenomenal. I am sure they will get that in high school too.”
Curacao will play Venezuela, representing Latin America, in an elimination game Tuesday afternoon.