Ewing Schools Staff Spotlight: My Little League World Series Summer!
Karyl Martucci-Malato, a longtime educator for the Ewing Schools, shares her story of watching her son have the exciting experience of participating in the Little League World Series.
Back to school time can be bitter sweet. We long to get back to a routine and as a teacher, to get back to the reason for teaching our students. Other times, it’s tough to see the summertime come to an end. For me, seeing my summer come to an end this year in particular, was not easy. I will be starting my 17th year as an educator in Ewing Township Schools and although Ewing has been my place of work, it is Toms River, New Jersey that I call home. Toms River is also home to the 2021 New Jersey State Little League Championship team, Toms River East Little League which our son, Steven, is part of. You see, from July through August, my husband and I spent many days and nights on the baseball field cheering on our son in Trenton, followed by Cherry Hill then on to the Little League Baseball Mid-Atlantic Regionals in Bristol, Connecticut and finally, the Mecca of Little League, Williamsport, PA for the Little League World Series™. What a journey! Between the Regionals and World Series, these Little Leaguers spent 18 days away from their families limited to FaceTime, phone calls and talking through a fence and video gaming was not available to these pre-teens! They experienced dorm life, cafeteria food three times a day, daily workouts or games, early wake ups and “lights out” by ten every night.
The LLWS experience brought with it many opportunities for these Little Leaguers to live like Major League Baseball players. Within the first four days after the team arrived from Bristol, CT, the players were fitted for their Little League World Series Adidas™ uniforms and cleats along with receiving a brand new baseball bag, batting helmet and a 2022 bat compliments of Easton™. In addition, each player filmed an introduction video and participated in interviews with ESPN which were later aired between commercials. Later that week, the Little Leaguers were able to spend the day with some MLB players from the Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland Indians playing games such as ping pong, corn hole and even wiffle ball. The day was capped off with the Little Leaguers sitting front row for the MLB Little League Classic game between the two teams at Bowman Field in Williamsport. Perhaps one of the coolest memories is what occurred our last night in Williamsport when MLB player, Todd Frazier came up to our family at the restaurant, handed me his cell phone and asked, “Can you please take a picture of me with Steven?” Todd was one of Steven’s biggest fans and it was pretty cool to see such a role reversal take place.
Throughout the Series, our son, Steven, batted .625 with a .727 on-base-percentage earning himself a spot on the final 2021 Hank Aaron All-Star roster along with 10 other players from around the country. Steven is humbled to have been chosen among almost 200 players for this honor. Toms River East Little League went 1-2 in the Series, but it was an opportunity of a lifetime that these Little Leaguers and their very proud families will never forget.