The Petaluma National Little League team received a hero's welcome Sunday in a parade and celebration that filled the streets of their hometown.

Police estimated the crowd at 15,000 to 20,000 and observers said it rivaled the turnout of the city's annual Butter & Egg Days parade.

The team of 13 boys rode in classic cars, sandwiched among marching bands.

At a packed Walnut Park they were presented with a huge key to the city and commendations from the City Council, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, state legislators and Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey.

The 12- and 13-year-olds were lauded for their spirit, sportsmanship and "never-give-up attitude" shown during their stirring run to the semi-finals of the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa.

The all-stars fell in the U.S. Championship to Goodlettsville, Tenn., but then defeated Panama to capture third place in the international tournament.

Japan won the title game.