Little League Classic a childhood dream come true for Lorenzen

August 19th, 2023

WASHINGTON -- only has good memories of Little League from growing up in Southern California, and not only from his playing days.

As the youngest of four baseball-playing brothers whose ages spanned 10 years, Lorenzen was at East Anaheim Little League a lot. Decades later, the 31-year-old Phillies right-hander cherishes memories of all of it.

“Great memories of playing games like Over-the-Line during [my brothers’] games and watching my dad coach them,” Lorenzen said. “I grew up on all their games, playing on the same fields, and it was a ton of fun.”

Lorenzen is revisiting those memories this weekend as Philadelphia’s ambassador at the 2023 Little League Classic. The sixth annual event will feature the Phillies and the Nationals in the finale of the three-game series the teams began in the nation’s capital on Friday, with first pitch set for 7 p.m. ET on Sunday at Historic Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa.

In their roles as Classic ambassadors, Lorenzen and Nationals first baseman Dominic Smith will take over MLB’s social channels upon arrival in Williamsport on Sunday, featuring a Q&A and interview by a Little Leaguer. Lorenzen and Smith will also be mic’d up at the Little League complex, where they will play games at “The Grove” with their young counterparts.

For Lorenzen, who is fresh off his thrilling Aug. 9 no-hitter against the Nationals, the role was easy to accept.

“I always wanted to play in the Little League World Series,” Lorenzen said. “It'll be fun to see the excitement of the kids, and they're living a dream that I never got to live out. So it's kind of cool to see.”

Making the weekend even more special is the exciting team from Media, Pa. -- located just outside of Philadelphia -- making waves in this summer’s tournament.

Phillies manager Rob Thomson echoed Lorenzen’s sentiment; he, too, remembers longing to play in the LLWS as a boy. But Thomson, who grew up in Ontario in the 1960s, said teams from his region in Canada couldn’t qualify for the tournament back then.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Thomson said. “I watched it every year and dreamed of playing in the tournament, so I’m kind of excited about it.”

The Phillies were a part of the second Classic in 2018, Thomson’s first year as the team’s bench coach. Lorenzen, who has also played for the Reds, the Angels and the Tigers since ‘18, has never participated in the Classic. He’s prepared to relish his first experience in the one-of-a-kind event.

“I'm just looking to have fun with it,” Lorenzen said.