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Crowds come out to support Little League World Series champions at parade

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Crowds lined the streets of Salisbury on Saturday morning, cheering, clapping and waving banners as Rowan County’s Little League softball World Series Champions paraded through town.

Each team member and coach sat on the back of a convertible, while their families and some of their other biggest fans rode along in antique fire trucks and the trolley.

An entire team of softball players even younger than the champion team showed up to cheer on their role models.

Celia Sifford, 9, and her teammates held up signs and cheered for the older girls as they passed by.

Each one seemed to have a different player they were especially excited to see.

Sifford said she came to the parade so she could “see all the ball players.”

She added that she was proud of the championship team.

Tammy Schmidt is fairly new to Rowan County, but she said she couldn’t help getting “caught up in all that excitement.”

She stayed up watching all the televised games last week as the girls advanced to and eventually won the championship game.

“My daughter was a softball player as a little girl,” she said.

The parade ended with a welcome home party at Salisbury Community Park, back at the softball fields where the girls’ journey began earlier this season. Hundreds of community members gathered at the softball field to join the celebration.

“We’ve had a wonderful ride to get here,” said Jennifer Myers, who led the welcome home party. “I am more than proud.”

Not only had the girls played well and won, they showed their character throughout the entire process.

“Well girls, you put Rowan County and Salisbury on the map,” said Mayor Paul Woodson as he addressed the girls and the crowd.

He presented a proclamation stating that Aug. 22, 2015 is World Series Championship Day in Salisbury.

Although Gov. Pat McCrory couldn’t come to the parade and welcome home party, he extended invitation by way of the mayor to governor’s mansion in Raleigh sometime in September.

Chairman of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners Greg Edds commended the girls for bringing Rowan County together as a community.

“Congratulations on the greatest athletic accomplishment – I think – in Rowan County history,” said WSAT sports broadcaster Howard Platt.

Dan Wells, president of the Rowan County Little League, recognized each girl and their top individual accomplishments.

He said that the team has brought home 14 championships in the last two years.

“They are not done,” Wells said.

“We were so proud to represent our RoCo – our Rowan County,” he added.

Coach Steve Yang said it was “touching” to see how the community “rallied around our girls.”

He was surprised, he added, at the amount of support they experienced.

When a parade was first proposed, he was doubtful, and suggested they just walk in the Christmas parade instead.

“I didn’t expect how many people would come,” he said. “We were blown away.”

Centerfielder Kaylin Dowling, 12, said she was surprised how many people showed up for the parade as well.

“I was not expecting that many people to come,” she said. “I was very thankful for the people who came.”

“We got a lot of support, she said, adding that there were “a lot of people cheering.”

“It was very overwhelming,” she added.

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