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NY Yankees Welcome Ugandan Little League Team

The New York Yankees had some special guests this week when they welcomed the first African team to reach the Little League World Series.

The Ugandan Little League team visited Yankees Stadium on Wednesday, receiving a personal tour of the clubhouse from skipper Joe Girardi.

“It was a beautiful place,” center fielder Fred Ojerku said.

The Little Leaguers met several Yankee players, including second baseman Robinson Cano and pitcher Andy Pettitte, and saw the amenities that make even other major league players stare in amazement.

The Ugandans had just arrived from Philadelphia, where they visited shortstop Jimmy Rollins and the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, and proceeded directly to Yankee Stadium. Girardi gladly offered his own bathroom when one of the boys whispered that he needed to use the facilities.

“I just tried to show them around a little bit and spend some time with them,” Girardi said. “It’s a wonderful story. It takes everyone back to your Little League days. To watch what these kids accomplished, talking to their coaches; none of them had ever even seen an airplane before or ever traveled before. For them to accomplish what they have is truly amazing.”

While in Philadelphia, the Ugandan team met with Rollins, who is one of the Ugandan Little League’s biggest supporters. Rollins traveled to Uganda in January with his sister, Shay, and visited teams.

The Little League World Series is usually a fixture on clubhouse TVs all across baseball, and the Yankees were no exception this year. They were impressed by both the dominance of the Japanese players and the endearing spirit shown by the team from Uganda.

Girardi even referred to a throw made by one of the players in their final game, in which the Ugandans beat Gresham, Oregon, 3-2, in a consolation game for the country’s first LLWS victory.

“It was a thrill for me to meet them,” Girardi said. “From a human interest story, we were all excited to watch them play.”

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