Despite the excitement surrounding Vanderbilt football heading into this season, the Commodores haven't been the only Nashville team making headlines this past month.
The Little League team from Goodlettsville, Tenn., was recognized at the Vanderbilt season opener on Thursday evening after capping an impressive performance at the Little League World Series throughout mid-August. During their time at the tournament in Williamsport, Pa., Goodlettsville represented the Southeast region in top fashion, winning the national bracket and advancing to the World Series final.
Even though Japan topped his team in that game, the significance of what was accomplished is not lost on Goodlettsville coach Joey Hale.
"The experience was magical," Hale said at Thursday's football game. "To be able to go up there and play, and then see how well these kids played under pressure, it's pretty awesome. Magical is the best word to describe it."
Goodlettsville's success was also not lost on Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin, who mentioned the team in his press conference on Monday.
"I'm a little concerned because we've been fighting and selling for the fact that we're Nashville's team, and now we've got competition. I'm very, very proud of them and what they've accomplished. What a great thing for Tennessee and Nashville."
Vanderbilt has been a presence throughout Goodlettsville's run in the form of Head Baseball Coach Tim Corbin. Corbin was in contact with Hale throughout the tournament, and even made multiple trips to Williamsport to see the team play, including the win the U.S. championship game over Petaluma, Calif.
"Having Coach Corbin be so involved has been very special," Hale said. "A lot of these kids go to his camps every year, and when they heard he was coming, they were very excited about that."
Goodlettsville received a warm welcome from the Vandy crowd when announced during the second quarter, taking the field and shaking hands with Corbin and Vice Chancellor for Athletics David Williams.
Being recognized by both Corbin and Commodore Nation was a special moment for the Little Leaguers, as noted by first baseman Seth Marlin.
"I'm a Vandy baseball fan, so this is really cool for me. This whole thing has been really fun."