The Oakland A's will honor the Petaluma National Little League Team, which finished third in the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., this Friday before the A's-Red Sox game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (7:05 p.m.).
Petaluma's team, along with head coach Eric Smith and his staff, will be honored in a special pre-game on-field ceremony and each little leaguer will receive an A's team autographed baseball. The team will take the field with A's players, standing alongside the big leaguers at their positions during the national anthem. In addition, the little leaguers will shag balls in the outfield during A's batting practice (approximately 4:30 p.m. pending travel time) and join their families in watching the game from luxury suites at the Coliseum, courtesy of A's outfielder Jonny Gomes.
Gomes, a native of Petaluma, has been an avid supporter of the Petaluma Little Leaguers throughout the team's epic journey, cheering on the team, wearing the yellow West shirt and cap in the A's clubhouse, and helping raise money through a media campaign to cover families' transportation and lodging costs at the World Series in South Williamsport.
"If I was lucky enough to go to Williamsport when I was 12, there would be no chance my family would have been able to go on their own dollar, and how bummed out I would be about that," explained Gomes.
Gomes encouraged fans to make donations online through Petaluma Little League's website, and he rewarded each donor with photo card autographed by the A's outfielder/designated hitter. The A's, Comcast SportsNet, and the San Francisco Giants donated $5,000 each to offset the travel costs.
Petaluma's team went 4-0 to win the West Regional Championship in San Bernardino. They finished 5-2 in the Little League World Series, losing a heartbreaker Saturday to Goodlettsville, Tenn., 24-16, despite overcoming a 10-run deficit in the sixth inning to send the deciding game into extra innings. They quickly rebounded with a 12-4 win over Aguadulce, Panama in Sunday's Little League World Series third-place game.