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Funding sought for Little Leaguers’ families

Mountain Ridge advanced to the Little League World Series on Saturday night, the first Nevada team to do so in the event’s 67-year history.

Now comes the hard part. Paying for it.

The team and its coaches arrived in Williamsport, Pa., at approximately 10 p.m. EST Sunday, having immediately departed the West Regional final in San Bernardino, Calif., on Saturday for a red-eye flight out of Los Angeles.

Little League International handles all costs for players and coaches.

Not so for anyone else.

Mountain Ridge has set a goal of raising $60,000 to pay for all travel expenses — air, hotel, ground transportation — for the families of the players.

As the West representative, Mountain Ridge opens play on Thursday at 4 p.m. PST against the Midwest champion from Rapid City, S.D., on ESPN2.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we have to find a way to get our parents and families back there by Wednesday night or Thursday morning,” Mountain Ridge Little League president Kristi Black said. “Most of them need this financial help. You don’t prepare for this. We’re a humble league. We try and remain classy at all times. We don’t jinx ourselves by talking about things like this before that last out is made to clinch it. That sounds silly, but we now we need about 50 plane tickets and 15 hotel rooms and a dozen rental cars.

“We’re very proud and honored to be the first team in Nevada history to make it and we’re hopeful the community will want to help.”

Mountain Ridge will be accepting donations (cash or check made out to MRLL with “Williamsport families,” written on the memo line) from 6 to 8 p.m Tuesday at Mountain Ridge Park, 7151 Oso Blanca Road, 89149. Officials will collect donations at the Little League field house between fields 1 and 4.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on “Gridlock,” ESPN 1100 and 98.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.

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