BANGOR, Maine — West University at Houston, Texas, pitcher Joe Gobillot said it was nice knowing he was going to get the opportunity to play in Bangor at the Senior League World Series and visit his grandfather at the same time.
His grandfather Bob Aurey owns a home on Belgrade Lakes and Gobillot and his family visit him every summer.
Some of his teammates accompanied him to his grandfather’s home on Wednesday, which was their day off, while some of his other teammates went to Bar Harbor.
“It was a lot of fun coming here. I knew that this field was 45 minutes away from my grandfather’s house,” Gobillot said, who was 2-0 in the Senior League World Series, including Saturday’s 7-4 championship game win over Latin America titlist Willemstad, Curacao.
“He built it in 1985 and we have been coming here every year,” Gobillot said, a hard-throwing left-hander. “On our day off, we caught some fish and just hung out. It was fun.”
West University was making its fourth appearance in six years at the Senior League World Series.
Manager Clint Sauls said that is the goal at the outset of every season with the ultimate goal being taking home the championship, as it did in 2009 and this year.
“When the kids sign up, they know this is the end goal,” Sauls said. “West University Little league does a great job marketing this. That’s why we get good turnouts of players to choose from.”
He said he and his staff, including assistants Cape Bell and Parker Duffie, put this year’s team together with pitching and defense in mind.
“We’d joke that if we scored a couple of runs, we’d be OK. Throughout the summer, we received more compliments on our hitting hitting than pitching. The way the guys have swung the bats has been a pleasant surprise. All these kids are dialed in and focused.”
Texas is known for its football, but Sauls said don’t sell the baseball players short.
“We play pretty good baseball in Texas, too,” Sauls said. “We have one guy (Owen Holt) who is trying to win the starting quarterback job at Lamar High School and gave that up for a week to come here and be a world champion. But I don’t think they’ll hold that against him.
“Houston is a hotbed for talent and these guys play at a high school known for its baseball. They have had some big league guys come out of Lamar High School,” he noted.
Two of his players had brothers who played on the 2009 Senior League World Series championship team: Travis Gauntt, brother of catcher Turner Gauntt; and Harrison James, older brother of left fielder William James. Both were in attendance on Saturday.
“They’re out there (in right field) taking pictures,” Sauls said, referring to the post-game celebration.
West University is 14-6 in its four appearances.