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With no game to play, families get a chance to spend time together

by: THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - Nationals first baseman Tyler Linch talks with mother Michele, left, and older brother Jeremy in the bleachers at Lamade Stadium on Sunday.

WILLIAMSPORT — Sunday was a family day for the Gresham Nationals.

During game days, the coaching staff kept the team in a routine with practice and time in “The Grove” — the fun-packed dorms that host the teams. That has left parents with only brief windows to spend with their children — enough time for a hug and some encouraging words.

With no game scheduled on Sunday, the parents were able to greet their children after the morning practice session and spend the day together. Some families left the complex and explored the Williamsport area, while others enjoyed a spot in the bleachers for Sunday’s second-round games.

“It doesn’t get any better — it’s been great to have him with me all day,” said dad Rick Falkner, while sitting next to his son Brett.

A few seats down, first baseman Tyler Linch took a break from pin trading to catch up with mom Michele and older brother Jeremy. Michele greeted him with a quick hug and a wide smile.

It took awhile for parents to trickle into town and the kids in the gold-and-black uniforms eagerly awaited their arrival.

“After we’d been here a few days, you started to notice that these kids wanted their moms and dads with them,” mom Debbie Mehlhaff said. “The moms that were here took turns giving extra hugs until everyone got here.”

Monday is another off day for the Nationals before they finish the Series with an exhibition at 10 a.m. Tuesday against Uganda.

Some families have made plans to return home mid-week, while others will be staying through championship weekend along with the players and coaches.

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