LITTLE LEAGUE

Former Boulder-Arrowhead all-star roots for Billings boys

2011-08-23T16:50:00Z 2011-08-24T00:25:21Z Former Boulder-Arrowhead all-star roots for Billings boysBy SUSAN OLP Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
August 23, 2011 4:50 pm  • 

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Jamie Spencer is taking a little walk down memory lane these days.

The 33-year-old Williamsport man played Little League baseball in Billings back in the late 1980s, before he and his family moved to Williamsport.

As it turns out, he played in the Billings league that has most recently been Big Sky's nemesis, Boulder-Arrowhead.

"I'm a little careful who I tell that to," he said Tuesday with a laugh.

Now the Big Sky All-Stars are in South Williamsport as the first Montana team ever to play in the Little League World Series.

Spencer made it to the 11-12-year-old Majors level and played on an All-Star team. In the district tournament, he pitched, played shortstop and second base until his team got knocked out of the tourney by a Heights team.

In the summer of 1989, he moved to Pennsylvania with his parents, Jim and Gail Spencer, and his sister, Kelley. He played a couple more years of Little League and then in high school for two years.

"I was never a great player, but I really enjoyed baseball," he said. "For the last 20 years, I've been a big fan."

He's married now, and he and his wife, Michelle, have a 2-year-old son, Jensen. Spencer does marketing and advertising for a nearby golf course, and he coaches basketball and golf at Lycoming College in Williamsport.

Spencer has made it to every Little League World Series for the past 20 years, and he's excited to finally see a Montana team here.

"To have a team from Billings has been wild for me personally, and it's been a lot of fun," he said.

Spencer has talked to some of the players and coaches since they arrived in South Williamsport early last week. He's also made it a point to introduce himself to the parents, all dressed in their gold-and-black Northwest Region jerseys, at the games.

"I've welcomed them to the Williamsport area," he said. "Some of them have mutual friends."

Up until recently, Spencer and his dad have headed back to Montana every summer to do a little fishing. Having a family of his own has made it a little more difficult to get to the Big Sky state.

But his ties to Billings remain strong, and he's been following the Big Sky All-Stars since they won the regional championship in San Bernardino, Calif.

He's been to both of their World Series games. And he's bought a bunch of Northwest Region T-shirts.

"I've been impressed watching the kids play," Spencer said. "They play with some good composure; they don't get rattled at all."

He'll be there Wednesday night to cheer them on again, as they take on the team from Huntington Beach, Calif., in the semifinals. Both teams are undefeated.

As the boys win games, Spencer sees more people cheering for them.

"This is the first time ever for a team from Montana and they've won a couple of games," Spencer said. "How can you not root for them?"

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