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Little Leaguers adjusting to celebrity

From Six Flags Marine Discovery Kingdom to Sunrise Senior Living, it has been one appearance after another for the Petaluma National Little League All-Star team since their triumphal return from the Little League World Series.

While the Little Leaguers and their parents have been feted, fed and celebrated, they have struggled to return to something resembling a normal life. For the majority of the now 13-year-old players that means stepping up from elementary school to junior high school as seventh graders.

The baseball players started the secondary school experience a bit behind after missing the first few days at Petaluma Junior High after they returned home from the World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

The Nationals Dinner

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Since their return at the end of August, it has been a solid six weeks of one appearance after another for the players, who have been on the diamond with both the Giants and A's players, enjoyed pizza with Giants' pitcher Matt Cain, been honored at a Petaluma City Council meeting and made innumerable public appearances. Since its return, the team has generally had at least one mid-week and one or two weekend events each week.

Parents and players alike agree the pace has been hectic.

"The most difficult thing has been getting back into a normal routine," said Cole Tomei, who is both team coach and parent of third baseman Trevor Tomei. "Right when you think things are getting back to normal, something else comes up."

"I think they (the players) are getting kind of tired," said Wayne Douglas, father of Logan Douglas. "But every time you think that, something else comes up and everybody gets new blood. For the parents, it is almost like reliving the experience every time we get together."

Some of the parents acknowledged that grades are a concern, but so far the now teenagers are doing fine.

"It hasn't been bad," said Kevin White, father of pitcher Andrew White. "For us, we have just tried to make sure (Andrew) is on track with school, especially during that first week, when he had to make up for missing a few days."

Pitcher White has managed to stay on track, maintaining a 4.0 GPA for the first preliminary grading period.


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