by Frank Aceto | Associate Sports Editor
They got a pin from the mayor and a parade is coming soon.
They also are expected to be recognized by the state of Ohio down the road.
Yes, life is quite sweet for the Tallmadge Little League Softball All Stars. They're one of the best teams in the world.
Tallmadge concluded a stellar season with a fourth-place finish in the Little League World Series.
The World Series concluded Aug. 13 at Alpenrose Stadium in Portland, Ore. Tallmadge, representing the Central region, lost a 6-4 decision to Southeast champion Columbus, Ga., in the third-place game.
But the final score was merely an afterthought for Tallmadge manager Nick Dadich and the rest of the players and coaches. They knew this was their final day of the most fantastic weeklong voyage of their lives. It was time to savor every moment.
"It was great," Dadich said. "We were able to get some new girls in the starting lineup and they held their own."
Columbus beat Tallmadge for the second time in the World Series, but it's a safe bet no one is holding a grudge.
The players and coaches may be returning home without a world championship, but it's safe to say their 15 minutes of fame will last much longer than that.
"The mayor [David Kline] was there and he presented a pin for Tallmadge," Dadich said. "He hardly ever gives those out. We also were asked by Congress to go to Columbus to be recognized by the state of Ohio."
The members of the team won't get much rest once they make the cross-country trip back to Northeast Ohio.
A parade is scheduled to take place Aug. 16 at the Tallmadge Circle. The festivities are set to begin at 8:30 p.m. The Little League Softball All Stars and All-American Soap Box Derby winner Dylan Theisen, a Tallmadge resident, are expected to be recognized.
"We're also going over to Delanie's afterward and have a party outside," said Dadich, who is the owner of Delanie's in Tallmadge.
Tallmadge certainly held its own against the Southeast region champion.
Columbus took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Tallmadge tied the game with a run in the top of the third, but Columbus scored two runs to take a 3-1 advantage in the bottom of the third.
Again, Tallmadge (14-4) rallied to tie the game with two runs in the fifth on a two-out, two-run single by Lauren Tecca. But Columbus took the lead (6-3) for good with three runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Tallmadge scored its last run in the top of the sixth and had the tying run at the plate with a runner on second base and two outs.
Unfortunately, Lauren Tecca grounded out to first to end the game.
"She [the Columbus' pitcher] threw her first changeup of the game," Dadich said. "It caught Lauren off guard. It was a good time for it."
Right-hander Emily Pratt pitched the first two innings. Southpaw Hallie Mullett took the ball in the third and finished the game. Mullett wound up taking the loss in the pitcher's circle.
Although Tallmadge ended its season on a two-game losing streak, there weren't too many frowns in the dugout.
"Their spirits were fantastic," Dadich said. "The girls who are normally starters did a nice job of tutoring the girls who did start."
While all that has happened may be somewhat of a blur to Dadich and the rest of the team, they certainly enjoyed this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
"I get more texts when we lose than when we win," Dadich said. "That says a lot. We made the people of Tallmadge proud regardless of the outcome and we're one of the best teams in the world. But those things don't matter to me. I'm just happy that these girls can take home some great memories."