TYLER - As Lufkin heads into Thursday night's game, baseball players in Tyler remember a similar situation. In 2010, a Tyler junior league baseball team lost a pretty big game, only to still come out on top nationally.
"To get the opportunity to go and travel that far was a first for me in baseball, said Mason Mallard.
He remembers playing for the Junior League World Series championship title like it was yesterday. Looking at old pictures with a teammate, he said there are nothing but happy memories, despite losing to Chinese Taipei in Taylor, Mi.
"We were just so proud of each other to be able to get to a pinnacle of that age of baseball, and be able to represent Tyler as well as we did," he said.
Chad Parker coached the Rose Capital East Junior League team.
The Junior League World Series is an international tournament for ages 13-15, annually played.
He said they were superstitious, making sure the team's pre-game ritual never changed.
"I'd buy like 30 Arby's sandwiches, and we would eat the same Arby's sandwich on the way to the pre-game, every single time."
Despite eating roast beef sandwiches, the team lost to California, which is similar to what happened to Lufkin with North Carolina.
Parker said it may have been strategy.
"Sometimes you have to strategize for a loss. We lost to California in the pool play, because we weren't going to sacrifice one of our best pitchers. We saved Patrick Mahomes," he said.
Pat Mahomes, father of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, said the two were texting back and forth while watching Wednesday night's game.
His son played on the Tyler Junior League team.
"It brought back memories from when we went there. The California team, you know, they were tough," Mahomes said. "They had good pitching and good hitting. We had good pitching and good hitting."
His message to Lufkin: enjoy the moment.
"These kids are getting the chance to experience something they may never get to again," he said. "Playing on those fields, getting those crowds, just go out there and make plays."
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