‘They play like they’re a family:’ Community rallies around team

Aug 18, 2022

WILLIAMSPORT, PA. — Jake Wood grew up in Middleboro and spent his youth playing baseball in Middleboro Little League. Now 16, he plays baseball for Middleboro High School.

He is not related to any players or coaches, but he and his father, Peter Wood, decided to make the seven-hour trip to support the team living out his childhood dream.

“Since I was eight years old, I always wanted to play in the Little League World Series in my 12-year-old year,” says Jake. “That dream never happened, but I still wanted to come here and support whatever team from New England came here. And what do you know, Middleboro, Massachusetts came here. It’s a dream come true.”

More than 100 supporters drove from Middleboro to Williamsport, Pa., to support Middleboro Little League at the World Series, according to Michele Bolduc, mother of third baseman Luke Bolduc.

In addition to so many fans following the team on the road, the community united to print and sell more than 500 Middleboro Little League T-shirts. The shirts came together in the days between Middleboro’s win against Bangor, Maine, in the regional final and the start of the World Series.

Players and coaches stay in a secure housing facility near the stadium grounds. As families waited in their cars to pick up the players for a day off on Thursday, about half the vehicles had supportive messages painted on the windows.

“Every step of the way, we’ve had fans coming out to see the games at the Field of Dreams in Middleboro,” says Steve Bolduc, Luke’s father. “People followed the team to Braintree for the state final and some of the regional games down in Bristol, Connecticut, and now here in Pennsylvania. It’s been incredible.”

Victoria Bright, the mother of utility player Nathan Mello, called the experience “surreal.” 

Kelsie Morris, whose son is first baseman Ayden Morris, agrees.“It’s definitely hitting all of us that yeah, our kids can definitely play.”

“They mesh so well together that they could probably run these plays, get these outs, and hit these balls blindfolded and still know where their teammates are on the field,” Morris added. “They play like they’re a family. Being a parent is super nerve-racking because your 12-year-old is out there and the whole world is watching all of a sudden. But the second after the national anthem, they’re ready to go.”

The team lost its first game Wednesday to the Southeast region winners, Nolensville, Tenn., but the tournament is double-elimination. This Middleboro team has bounced back before: The squad lost its second regional tournament game to Bangor, but beat the same team 10-1 in the final. 

With their loss, the team enters the elimination bracket and will face the loser of Thursday’s game between Mid-Atlantic and Southwest, which airs at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

Middleboro’s next game is on Saturday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.