PHILADELPHIA -- From a baseball sense, Scott Kingery's first trip to Williamsport, Pa., was somewhat of a dud. His Ahwatukee Little League All-Star team was eliminated via a tiebreaker after pool play. He didn't log a hit, going 0-for-10 in three games.
But at just 12 years old, he got to travel a couple of thousand miles from his home in Phoenix and play shortstop on national TV. His twin brother, Sam, manned second base to form an All-Kingery middle infield. And their dad, Tom, had a pretty good view from the dugout -- as the team's manager.
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It's hard to ask for a better experience than that.
"To be honest, just being out on that field was special," Kingery said 12 years later in the Phillies' clubhouse, now a 24-year-old Major League shortstop. "Every second of it. We had a good team, and it was a lot of fun to play with those guys."
The Kingerys will get to relive that special week when Scott and the Phillies visit Williamsport for the second annual Little League Classic against the Mets on Sunday night. Tom and Sam will look on from the seats at Bowman Field, the first time they'll all be back in the place where they reached the ultimate stage for any Little League team.
To share that with his family, Kingery said, is exciting. But the game under the lights will be a culmination of a long day shared with this year's crew of young ball players competing in the Little League World Series. Kingery and his teammates will trade pins and talk shop with kids upon arriving on Sunday. Fun for the kids, no doubt, but fun for Kingery, too. He said he's become an avid viewer when the LLWS rolls around every August.
"When I watch it, it brings back the memories of being able to play there and knowing what those kids are going through, what they're feeling," Kingery said. "It's nerve-wracking and also exciting at the same time."
Some parts of that 2006 run Kingery doesn't remember as well. He apparently listed former Phillies slugger Ryan Howard as one of his favorite players during Ahwatukee's run through the West regional. But when they made it to Williamsport, they all claimed allegiance to local D-backs. In Kingery's case, that was Stephen Drew.
What Kingery can't forget was standing side-by-side with Aaron Durley, first baseman for the 2006 team from Saudi Arabia, who at 6-foot-8, 256 pounds, towered over the 4-foot-9, 79-pound Kingery.
"I was standing next to him, and the top of my head didn't even reach his elbow," Kingery said. "I was like, 'I don't know how a kid gets this big.'"
No memory, Kingery said, stands out in his mind as vividly as the very first one made in Williamsport. His team's first stop off the bus overlooked the iconic hill beyond the center-field fence at Lamade Stadium.
"Just to look down and see those facilities and see how amazing those fields are -- it was unbelievable," Kingery said. "It was like, 'Oh, I get to play there?'"
On Sunday, he'll get the chance again. Maybe this time he'll get a hit.