Petaluma team honored with parade, key to the city

September 2, 2012 6:50:25 PM PDT
The Petaluma National All-Stars Little League team got the royal treatment Sunday, as thousands upon thousands of fans packed the sidewalks of Fourth Street and Petaluma Boulevard to rally for the team's parade.

With all the pomp and circumstance their hometown heroes deserve, it seemed the whole town of Petaluma lined the streets to celebrate the National All-Stars, "I'm so excited," resident Chris Stoll said. "I just love this town, it's such a great community, and we just all pull together for each other, so it's really great."

Resident Ray Nizivian added, "I was President of Little League in the '70s for four years, so I saw the whole thing grow up."

A flyover to kick-off the parade got the crowds going, but not as much as the boys of summer themselves.

Dick and Rose Gravelle journeyed all the way from San Jose to watch the parade. They say they watched every game, noting, "My stomach hasn't settled yet from it. It was a real thriller."

While Melvin Malcome brought his young son, saying, "Came out here to show him the parade and we got the whole family down here."

Signing autographs for their adoring fans, the kids were more like rockstars than all-stars. Player Quinton Gago noted that Sunday's turnout was even bigger than that of a 32 year tradition for the city, "This is all insane," said Gago. "I mean, more people than the Butter and Eggs Day Parade just for us. I don't know, I think that tops off the cake."

A sentiment seemingly shared by the whole team. The players may be heroes to their town. But player Danny Marzo says it was the town's support that carried them to become the third in the world, "You know, they showed so much support," Marzo said. "I don't know how we're gonna repay them with that. That's gonna be hard."

At a ceremony at Walnut Park, the team was given a key to their city, "I'm psyched out," player Logan Douglas said. "This is crazy."

Now ranked third in the world, the All-Stars aren't done quite yet. They have even more to look forward to, including a dinner with a San Francisco Giant, "We have a pizza party with Matt Cain," Douglas said. When asked how he feels, Douglas answered, "It's awesome, that's gonna be so much fun."

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