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Havoc on the hill in Williamsport

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Hunter Sorrell, 10, of Greenville, "surfs" down the back hill behind Lamade Stadium at the Little League World Series.

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BY Ronnie Woodward
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, August 20, 2017

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — J.T. Williams had to be carried to his seat Friday night at Lamade Stadium for the North State game, his foot wrapped and secured as parents in the know about his injury gave him a standing ovation.

“The Hill” got the best of Williams, who is at the Little League World Series to watch his brother Cameron Greenway play for Greenville North State, and Williams is now doing it in a temporary wheelchair because of a tumble on the hill.

There actually are two hills behind Lamade Stadium, where all of the games involving United States teams are played.

The hill closest to the outfield fence typically is packed with parents sitting in tailgate-style chairs. The hill behind that is usually filled with kids — a lot of them younger siblings of Little League World Series players — and they use cardboard slabs of all kinds to sit, lie and stand on before descending as fast as possible.

“Ever since we got here, we’ll just watch the games up here,” 10-year-old Hunter Sorrell from Greenville said after he spent the early part of Saturday trying to perfect the surfboard style.

Sliding down the hill is one of the signature activites at the LLWS, but don’t expect North State’s players to be going head first on a cardboard. At least not yet.

There is a similar hill in Warner Robins, Ga., where Greenville won the Southeast Regional. Head coach Brian Fields made a rule there for no sliding until after the tournament, so the players went to the hill not long after winning the championship game.

There hasn’t been talk about sliding in Williamsport, but it is kind of an unwritten rule.

“I have a feeling that they know better,” said Brent Anderson, whose son Chase was the starting pitcher for North State’s first two games at the tourney.

If players needed a reminder about a potential injury, they got it Friday with Williams’ mishap.

But that didn’t stop the Greenville duo of Sorrell and his friend Ryan Johnson on Saturday during peak traffic. The hill tends to fill weekend afternoons, and after rain limited sliding on Friday, action on Saturday and Sunday was nonstop.

Sorrell was like a director at times, making sure paths were clear for his Greenville friends and also the many others who wanted to ride. Congestion is difficult to avoid.

But confidence seems to increase with the kids with every successful trip to the bottom.

“You get used to it, and then you feel pretty confident,” Johnson, 11, said.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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