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Monarchs to stop at SPLL

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

 

SOUTH POINT — The Kansas City Monarchs were an outstanding baseball team in the former Negro League. The Philadelphia Monarchs Little League team is like a minature edition.

The young Monarchs are a team comprised of 10- and 11-year-old players — 14 boys and one girl — who have been educated about the history of the Monarch team.

The players are from the Marian Anderson Recreation Center league in South Philadelphia. Not only do the players know about the Monarchs, but they will dress and travel just like the old Negro League team.

The team is on a 22-day barnstorming tour through 16 major league baseball parks and one stop at the South Point Little League.

Originally there was supposed to be a stop in Charletston, W.Va., but it was switched to the SPLL thanks to the intercession of WSAZ-TV weatherman Tony Cavalier who is originally from Philadelphia.

The Monarchs will play the River Cities Vipers who have four players from South Point on the team. The game will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 15, at the SPLL field.

“Our kids even get to take a ride on their bus,” said Scotty Russell of the South Point Little League.

“(The Monarchs) are like the Globetrotters. They don’t lose. They’re all small kids but they pound the ball. We’re the only place that isn’t a major league town. Our kids look at it as a great opportunity.”

The team will travel the 4,000 miles in a 1947 Flxible Clipper bus that has a flat front to leave room for an Anderson Monarchs logo.

The seats — two on each side of the aisle — are hard and rough. There is no air conditioner or toilet on the bus, but the flawed conditions are what make it unique and replicates the Monarchs bus.

The team founder and coach is Steven Bandura. All the players are good students who have been accepted to charter schools or academic academies.