The Davenport 13-year-old little league team is headed to the big show.

The all-star team composed of players from the Davenport, Bettendorf and surrounding Iowa areas will be playing in the Babe Ruth World Series next month. The team reports Aug. 9 and will begin games Aug. 11 in Ottumwa, Iowa, against a dozen teams from around the world in the double-elimination round-robin tournament.

Davenport Little League Team

Davenport Little League Team

The team is composed of Manager Jason Gillaspie, Coach Larry Cato, Coach Tony Losasso and players Cody Depardo, Sam Wellman, Jacob Struss, Luke Loving, Lucas Gross, Andrew Hutchcroft, Cade Amato, Nate Canfield, Jake Mahon, Alex Jaros, Owen Steiger, Jackson Vogel, Kieren Obrien and Sam Fleming.
Gillaspie was proud of his boys and excited at their chances for the gold next month.

“I’m really proud of them, they played really hard and worked hard to get here,” Gillaspie said. “They really deserved it.”

Davenport fought through three preliminary games to get its shot at the trophy.

“I felt great for the kids when we won and got the chance to go to the series,” Gillaspie said. “These kids are great, they’ve got great heart and they never quit, for real. There were times in the games where we’d get down a run or two and they never let it bother them. They just kept their heads up and kept working and kept a good attitude. They were the same way throughout practices too, just a great attitude, hard workers and a great group of kids.”

Because of that effort, attitude and their skill, Gillaspie likes their chances to take the gold.

“Baseball’s a funny sport, anyone can beat anyone on any given day, but I like our chances and I’m proud of our kids,” Gillaspie said. “We’ve got good pitching, hitting, fielding, it’s really a solid bunch of kids. We’re as good as anyone else. I’m really proud of them.”

This is the Davenport team’s second year in the Babe Ruth League and the first time they’ve been to a Little League World Series. It’s also a pretty solid year for baseball in the Quad-Cities as the Davenport 14-year-olds won a state title over the weekend.

But ultimately, aside from the accolades, it’s the memories that the kids will take with them from their journey.

“We want the kids to do their best and to have fun, that’s what it’s all about,” Gillaspie said. “We just want to make sure they’re prepared, they’re ready to play, and that we make the right decisions as coaches. And we’ll see what happens. Like I said, it’s a good group of kids. I like our chances.”

And you can get updates on the team’s journey through the series here on QuadCities.com.

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written almost 30 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.