WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Even though it wasn’t in the form he imagined, Montesano Little League all-star Cole Daniels of Montesano realized his goal of making it to Williamsport.
The 12-year-old Daniels received Little League’s International Good Sport of the Year award during the Little League World Series that concluded Sunday in Pennsylvania.
The Good Sport award annually recognizes a Little League player who has demonstrated superior qualities of sportsmanship, leadership, a commitment to teamwork and a desire to excel. The sole recipient of the honor, Daniels was chosen from thousands of nominees internationally.
“Cole’s willingness to help other players and the respect he shows for both his peers and elders are great examples of what we hope every Little League learns from the game,” Little League President and CEO Stephen D. Keener said in a press release. “Cole proves that good sportsmanship is not about your talent and ability, but rather your attitude and love for the game.”
The shortstop on Montesano’s district runner-up major league team, Daniels was nominated by Montesano Little League President Steve Bove.
“He puts 100 percent effort on every play and does it with a smile,” Bove said in the press release. “Win or lose, he is the first in line to shake hands and congratulate his opponents. (Off the field), Cole is always willing to help, whether it is in the scorebooth or picking up garbage in the stands.”
Daniels received the award at a banquet last Thursday. Required to give an acceptance speech, he handled it well enough that ESPN broadcaster Karl Ravech, who followed him to the podium, jokingly referred to Cole as the next commissioner of Major League Baseball.
“I think it is an honor, but also a responsibility,” Cole said in the press release. “It’s important how you act on and off the field. Kids notice, parents notice, teammates note. Having a good attitude is important. Sometimes kids can be more of an influence than even coaches, so I feel it is my job to be a role model to the younger kids in Little League if I can. I had a kid ask me if he could wear my number next year. That was pretty awesome.”
Cole and his parents, Corey and Kellie Daniels, received an all-expense trip to Pennsylvania. After a couple days in Washington D.C., they watched every Little League World Series game from Wednesday to Sunday. Cole threw out the ceremonial first pitch in Friday’s South Korea-Japan International championship game.
“He was (treated) like a rock star. You can’t believe how much attention he got,” Kellie Daniels said Monday from Gettysburg, Pa., where the family was touring the famed Civil War battlefield. “We didn’t really know how big it was until we got here.”
Having already attended a Washington Nationals game last week, the Daniels family planned to take in a Tampa Bay Rays-Baltimore Orioles game at Baltimore’s Camden Yards stadium before heading home.
“It was the most incredible trip we’ve ever been on,” Kellie Daniels said Monday.