Petaluma welcomes Little Leaguers home

Stepping like celebrities from a 32-foot white Hummer stretch limousine, Petaluma's Little League World Series team got a raucous welcome home Monday from about 1,500 people at the Petaluma fairgrounds.

Whoops, screams and cheers greeted the players as they walked down a red carpet, closely surrounded by a crowd of youngsters, parents and even great-grandparents.

"You guys are the bomb," player Danny Marzo yelled into the microphone from a stage on the fairgrounds' grassy concourse.

The Nationals come home


The Petaluma National team, champions of the West, flew home Monday, a day after claiming third place in the 66th Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa.

Their plane was greeted with a water-cannon salute by two San Francisco fire trucks, creating an arch of water over the plane.

Five Petaluma police motorcycles, with lights flashing, escorted the limo onto the fairgrounds.

"I am speechless. I have no clue what to say at all," player Quinton Gago said. "We thank every one of you."

Team manager Eric Smith also complimented the crowd, estimated by a fairgrounds official at 1,500, for its support.

"This is an incredible showing," Smith said. "As coaches we couldn't be more proud of what these kids did, how far they took this team and this community."

The team has been on the road for nearly four weeks, advancing through the regional tournament in San Bernardino and then flying directly to Pennsylvania for the World Series, which was televised nationally on ABC and ESPN's networks.

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