Amateur radios lead to crazy coincidence and unique friendship for the Little World Leagues | New
Williamsport, PA – Baseball is America’s pastime, passed down from generation to generation. It’s young and old, together. No place is more obvious than in the Little League World Series, where for over 70 years people of all ages have come from far and wide to enjoy baseball in its purest form.
But in all this time, there has never been a story like this.
Last year Nolensville, Tennessee, along with 12-year-old Blake Pearson, felt they had a strong squad and had hopes of making it all the way to Williamsport. Then Covid hit and ruined those dreams. Without baseball to play and sitting at home, having fun with a family pastime, Blake and his younger brother, Ryan, made a connection that would prove to be prophetic.
Let’s go back a bit.
In the summer of 2018, Andrew Pearson took his sons Ryan and Blake to the Experimental Aircraft Association Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. While there, he came across an ham radio hut. As a child, Andrew had tried amateur radios, and while showing his boys how it worked, he immediately fell in love with the hobby.
Back home in Tennessee, the father and his two sons set up their own radio and began taking classes. To be an official operator, you have to take courses and pass exams. Only then do you become an official operator authorized by the FCC.
In the summer of 2019, Andrew, Ryan, and Blake graduated and started working their way up the ranks. In the summer of 2020, they passed the test of the highest level, called “extra”. It’s the amateur radio version of a black belt.
On August 15, 2020, with the cancellation of the Little League World Series, Ryan, call sign KN4VKW, and Blake, KN4VKY, connected to make friends around the world and came across a man, callsign call K3LPX.
When the brothers went to the website and checked out K3LPX, they saw a photo of Lamade Stadium, and underneath, the words “THE HOME OF LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL, WILLIAMSPORT, PA”.
Longtime Williamsport resident Marty Maurer is K3LPX. “I have been an amateur radio operator for over 60 years,” Maurer said from his home earlier this week. “I’ve talked to people all over the world, and when they ask me where I’m from, I say ‘Williamsport, Pennsylvania’, but people never knew where it was. Then I would say ‘the homeland of Little League Baseball’ and that meant something.
It certainly meant something to the Pearson brothers who love baseball. They told their father that they had met someone from the Little League house and that all parties had exchanged information.
“After that I didn’t think much about it, until Ryan’s team won the regional championships this year and we qualified for the World Series,” said Andrew. “Then I remembered, ‘hey, we know this guy in Williamsport,’ so I pulled out his information and emailed him. A little while later, Marty picked up the phone and called me.
It was August 15, 2021. Exactly one year to the day since the initial interaction.
Maurer received a Pearson family pass to attend games at South Williamsport, and Marty and his wife, Gail, invited the Pearsons over to their home for dinner.
“There was a lot of baseball and a lot of travel this summer,” said Jacqueline, flight nurse for Vanderbilt LifeFlight in Nashville and mother / wife of the Pearson clan. “It was really sweet of Marty and Gail to invite us over for a home cooked meal. We haven’t had a lot of that lately.”
Tennessee were knocked out of the title race, but that doesn’t mean Ryan Pearson didn’t have a tournament to remember. First, ESPN made him the subject of an in-game highlight, showing off his shortstop defensive prowess.
But more importantly, at least for fans around the world, it’s simply Ryan’s appearance on Little League’s biggest stage.
There are more than three million amateur radio operators in the world, including more than 700,000 in the United States. Ryan is believed to be the first licensed radio amateur to ever play in the Little League World Series.
Ryan hopes the national television appearance will help him make new friends around the world when he returns to his radio station in Tennessee. So if you’re a ham, don’t hesitate to reach out. KN4VKW. He will answer with pleasure.
Do not hit a ball on the ground in its direction, as it will also gladly throw you.