A summer to remember for the Eau Claire 12U Nationals

By: Jenn Chapman and Justus Cleveland Email
By: Jenn Chapman and Justus Cleveland Email

"Not a lot of things in life that you get to remember and that are special and this is one of those things that you're like 'wow I just played on ESPN'," says Ryan Venne.

The Eau Claire Nationals 12U team will never forget the summer of 2012 when they won the first ever little league state title for Eau Claire and earned the opportunity to play in front of a national audience.

"Words are hard to describe how I feel about these boys. I've been coaching most of them for the last five years," says Coach Jeff Pippenger. I" was very proud not only in how they handled themselves but how they represented the city of Eau Claire and the state of Wisconsin.

I just got to spend a bunch of time with my teammates. They're not only my teammates, they're also my friends," adds Venne.

Although they lost their regional game 2-1 to Indiana on ESPN2 , The Nationals said it was just a game…with maybe a little added pressure.

"It's like cameras everywhere so you have to be careful where you go so you don't pick your nose or scratch your butt,"says Noah Hanson.

With the 11U and 10U Nationals programs also qualifying to states this year, the Eau Claire program is clearly doing something right.

"Our teaching fundamentals is that we stress the little things and doing the little things correctly," Pippenger says.

The Nationals finished just two wins shy from making the Little League World Series, building confidence of a bright future in high school.

We're thinking we have a chance to go to state and win it because of what we've done this year," says Hanson.

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