As the final out was recorded in Westport's Little League World Series game against Mexico, having watched every riveting inning on TV from the regional finals on, I stood up from my couch and applauded these 11 fine young men.

No one heard it, no one saw it, but I felt compelled to do something, anything, to show my appreciation for this team. As I was applauding, I came to the realization that for the first time in a very long time I loved baseball again.

This group, most of whom I have never met, gave me a precious gift I didn't know I wanted or needed, and so to them I say thank you.

Thank you for making every inning of every game so exciting.

Thank you for showing us all what it means to never ever give up.

Thank you for your charm, maturity, sportsmanship and poise.

Thank you for smiling and laughing and being kids while playing like adults, like seasoned veterans.

Thank you for bringing our town closer together.

Thank you for helping us, at least temporarily, to forget about all the problems facing Major League Baseball.

Thank you coaches and parents for your sacrifice and leadership.

Thank you volunteers for supporting this team.

Thank you for giving us a summer we will never forget.

Thank you Alex, Chad, Charlie, Chris, Drew, Harry, Matt B., Matt S., Max, Ricky and Tatin for making me love baseball again.

Marco Spadacenta