COLUMBIA - Craig Brumfield and the Daniel Boone Little League team were pulling back into Columbia Saturday night, exhilarated about where they'd been but looking forward to their own beds.
The day started in Indianapolis, with a heart-breaking 7-6 loss to Urbandale, Iowa in the Midwestern Region final. Urbandale moves on to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. Columbia headed home.
"It's an unbelievable effort and journey," Brumfield said, thinking back over the past few weeks. "We were really just going into the regional with our eyes open. But it seemed like every big game we had to win, they won."
The Columbia team developed a reputation for scrappiness. That reputation almost continued Saturday in the game televised nationally on ESPN. After falling behind Urbandale 6-0 early in the game, Columbia fought back but lost by one run.
"It just didn't work out," Brumfield said. "We just kind of ran out of outs."
Perspective didn't take long.
"I think the parents probably cried as much as the kids did," the coach said.
But earlier in the tournament, the Urbandale team had beaten Columbia 16-0, so there was some redemption in the close loss. It wasn't long, according to the coach, before the players were back to texting each other from the back seats of their cars.
"That's the beauty in being 12 years old," Brumfield said.