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Middleboro, ahead of opening game, feels prepared for the chaos at the Little League World Series

Middleboro Little League got the chance to ride in a parade through Williamsport on Monday.Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Since winning the New England region championship, Middleboro Little League has learned it’s difficult to not be excited at the Little League World Series.

The New England champions hopped off the bus Friday in Williamsport, Pa., and started trading pins with other teams, talking to players from all around the world, taking part in a parade through the town that featured thousands of residents crowding streets, and listening to encouraging words from former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

While there’s fun to be had, Middleboro’s coaches are reminding players there is still work to be done. It starts with Wednesday’s opening-round matchup against Nolensville, Tenn., from the Southeast region, which will air at 3 p.m. on ESPN.


Middleboro is representing Massachusetts at the LLWS for the first time since Peabody West Little League went 1-2 in 2009.

Since Friday, head coach Chad Gillpatrick and assistant coach Joe Trottier have kept the team’s focus on baseball during four-hour daily practices, ensuring the routines and principles that have guided Middleboro to Little League’s highest stage are maintained.

“This is what we work so hard for,” they told their players during a team meeting Saturday morning, “so let’s make sure we spend our time focusing on baseball when we’re on the field.”

In Nolensville, Middleboro will face a tall task offensively. The Tennessee representatives allowed just five runs in their undefeated romp through the Southeast region tournament, and the coaches want to be ready for whatever comes their way.

“From a coaching perspective, we’re trying to get a pulse and figure out what [Tennessee does] well to take advantage of that in some way,” Trottier said.

Energy is a big talking point for the Middleboro team, and the coaching staff is trying to balance the fun of the event with the importance of competing. Entering Wednesday’s contest, however, Gillpatrick and Trottier are confident the team will be well rested and well prepared.


“We had a good practice [Tuesday],” Gillpatrick said. “We kind of talked about [nervousness] a little bit and said this place is going to be a zoo and mobbed ... We got to just forget about what’s going on around us and just play some baseball.”

While the coaches have been talking shop and keeping the team focused, the players are just being kids, enjoying their time with festivities and games.

“The best part has been how much fun the kids are having as well as them realizing — and coaches — that we’ve reached the ultimate destination for Little League baseball.”

Middleboro’s Little League World Series schedule

Wednesday: vs. Southeast region, 3 p.m. (ESPN)

If Middleboro wins: Friday vs. Mountain region, 3 p.m. (ESPN)

If Middleboro loses: Saturday vs. Mid-Atlantic/Southwest region loser, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

Eamonn Ryan can be reached at eamonn.ryan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @eamonn_ryan41.