LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Junior League World Series may not have ended the way the Fierce 14s wanted it to, but they still returned to the Pineywoods as national Champions.
Over the weekend the Lufkin Junior All-Stars won the U.S. Championship over California at the Junior League World Series in Taylor, Michigan. Unfortunately they fell just short of a world championship, losing on Sunday to Chinese Taipei 2-0.
"This is just crazy," Charlie Deaton said. "We only have a town of 35,000 people and we are going up against some of those big California towns that have 100 of thousands of people.".
The season capped off a two year run that saw Lufkin Little League take the American bracket by storm. Last year, the Thundering 13 won the U.S. Championship at the Little League World Series in Williamsport. This year, a few of the players plus a few new ones, were able to move on to the next division and win the U.S. Title at the Junior League level.
The team officially made it back home to Lufkin Monday evening and were able to hold up their national title trophy up for their hometown fans. For the parents of the players it was the end of an emotional two years.
"This is just part of life, it is part of life," Jennifer Deaton said. "We don't know anything different. I am going to cry. This is the culmination of everything. He just came out and played his heart out."
The players also took a special moment to reunite with several teammates from last year's team that did not return. One of the first to wait for the players was Malcolm Deason, who gained national attention on ESPN for his crazy plays at second base in Williamsport. Deason is just ready for the next two years as the players all will eventually move up to high school together.
"We just had two great years," Deason said. "I think it is going to be fun at high school. I think we could win a state championship."