Uganda little leaguers visits the Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - August 28, 2012

They were the first little league team from an African country to compete in the Little League World Series last week.

Their tour through the area included a stop at Citizens Bank Park.

Jimmy Rollins showed the 11-year-olds where he works at Citizens Bank Park, but this tour was not just for any 11 year olds. These young guys were all part of the Uganda Little League team who stole the hearts of many at the recent Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

They struggled a little; winning only a consolation game, but little league was only introduced to Uganda six years ago.

It has become a passion for Felix Enzama.

"I play baseball," said Felix. "I enjoy playing baseball."

On their way home to Uganda Tuesday the team stopped in Norristown at Chandler Bats to see how a piece of Maple becomes a tool of the trade.

Later Chandler organized an exhibition game with a Plymouth Meeting team.

It has been a remarkable journey for the Ugandans, and a labor or love for Richard Stanley who coaches first base.

One of the owners of the Trenton Thunder, he visited Uganda on business and decided kids needed schools and a pastime.

"With his own money, he went over, and he built a school. From there he bought baseball equipment," said Angela Marcantonini.

At first, it was a trickle of used gear, but that's changing.

"We bought a thousand gloves, we bought 100 dozen baseballs at very good prices courtesy of Wilson, said Stanley.

Jimmy Rollins traveled to Uganda last winter, giving $10,000 to the team.

He dropped by Tuesday's exhibition game and brought along a couple friends, Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard, to sign autographs.

"To see them come over here and win a game is really more of a testament to them," said Rollins. "I was just a supporting member in the grand scheme of thing."

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