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Nearly 100 greet Meridian team after week-plus stay in New York

By Staff
THEY'RE HERE – After waiting more than an hour, fans friends and family break out in applause as the bus carrying the Meridian 14-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars arrives in the parking lot near Scaggs Field on the campus of Meridian Commnity College on Sunday afternoon. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Austin Bishop / EMG regional sports director
Aug. 26, 2002
When the 15 members of the Meridian 14-year-old Babe Ruth All-Star baseball team stepped off the bus and onto the parking lot at Meridian Community College Sunday afternoon they were exhausted.
And they were glad to be home.
They were a lot of things, but disappointed wasn't one of them.
Sure, to a man, the team wanted to come back from the World Series in Clifton Park, N.Y. with a championship trophy, but it just wasn't to be.
The Meridian squad won three games during their 10-day trip to New York, finishing in a tie for third place in the 10-team tournament. Hazel Del Metro, the team that eliminated Meridian 5-2 on Friday, won the championship 3-0 on Sunday morning.
The team's return was delayed for more than an hour when they had connection problems in Pittsburgh. On the bus ride from New Orleans they ran into heavy rains.
But that didn't deter the fans, friends and family that showed up to great the players. In fact, the delay helped the crowd swell to nearly 100.
Manager Larry Vick, who along with is players was trying to get into a mindset of returning to school today, said his team was certainly special.
This is the third straight trip to the World Series for most members of the team. They went to the Cal Ripken World Series in Illinois as 12-year-olds and the 13-year-old Babe Ruth World Series in North Carolina last year.
Shortstop Drew Snider said his team proved that it belonged on the national stage.
Third baseman Nathan Peden also thought his team was as good as any of those in the tournament, which featured four days of pool play before moving in to a six-team single elimination round.
Going into the semifinal game against Hazel Del Metro of Washington state, Vick said he knew the team that got ahead would have an
Meridian had a scoring opportunity in the top of the first, but couldn't capitalize. Hazel Del Metro took advantage of Meridian errors to score early and then held off a late challenge.
One of the highlights of the trip was a chance to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. during an off day on Wednesday.
Pitcher/infielder Ricky Gardner probably summed up the essence of the team best.