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Fans pack Petaluma theater to cheer home team

Petaluma, Calf.'s Porter Slate (6) rounds third past manager Eric Smith, left, after hitting a solo-home run off Goodlettsville, Tenn. pitcher Brock Myers in the fifth inning of a baseball game during Little League World Series pool play in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012. Goodlettsville won 9-6. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
August 20, 2012 10:23:39 AM PDT
A home run wasn't enough to get the win, but the Petaluma Little League team is grabbing the national spotlight and has become a source of some serious hometown pride.

There was some great baseball action Sunday afternoon in the Little League World Series. Our home team, Petaluma, took on Tennessee in Pennsylvania. For those who couldn't make the trip with the team a local theater provided the perfect place to watch the game.

One of the player's sisters said she's used to seeing about 30 fans in the stands that turnout for their regular season games, but since the team made it to the Little League World Series game, that audience has grown. Almost 400 people packed into two theaters in Downtown Petaluma and then of course there's the national television audience.

The game projected the local Little League heroes as 10 feet tall and it was a spectacular game to watch.

"It's amazing, it's electrical this place, I came down Thursday, I wasn't going to miss today," said Shane Caldwell from Petaluma.

With each big play, the crowd went wild and hometown pals proclaimed their friendships with the players on the field a little louder. The Petaluma players dominated with home run hits, bringing the crowd to their feet plenty of times, but in the end, their Tennessee opponents won. Still, the local crowd never let up.

Porter Slate was one of the key players in Sunday's match up. His big sister, Kendal Slate, was among the theater crowd.

"Everybody here is so dedicated to the team, it's nice that everybody puts in so much time to come watch," said Kendal.

And though it was a loss, Porter's grandmother, Dolores Conlan, is already looking forward to the next game.

"We love you. One game at a time. And we like those home runs," said Conlan.

Sunday's match up was not an elimination game, so Petaluma will go on to play the Mid-Atlantic team -- Par Troy East from Parsippany, New Jersey -- on Monday at 1 p.m. PT. It will air on our sister station ESPN.

Tenn. beats Calif. 9-6 to stay unbeaten at LLWS

Jayson Brown drove in two runs with a two-out triple and Brock Myers followed with a two-run homer to help unbeaten Goodlettsville, Tenn., defeat Petaluma 9-6 on Sunday.

With the score tied 5-5, Brown lunged after a high 1-2 pitch for the clutch hit just past diving first baseman Danny Marzo down the right field line.

Myers then smacked his homer to left. The 12-year-old shortstop raced around the base paths in delight, arms outstretched as his happy teammates waited for him at the plate.

Tennessee's outburst overcame Petaluma's own power surge. California slugged four homers, including Cole Tomei's blast with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.

But reliever Jake Rucker got a groundout with a runner on first to end the game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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