WARNER ROBINS -- From Reston, Va., the trip to the Southeastern Regional Complex should have taken 11 hours and 23 minutes, according to Yahoo! Maps.
But according to the parents who made the drive, it was much longer.
“It’s been a good 14 hours,” said Torryn Brazell.
She and her husband, Tim Brazell, started the drive Wednesday to see their son, Ty Brazell, represent Virginia in the Little League Baseball Southeastern Region Tournament, which begins Friday.
They -- along with seven other baseball teams from Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina -- arrived in Warner Robins just before the teams were to take aerial and group pictures at Little League Southeast Park at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
The Brazells drove down to Georgia in a new car. Their 12-year-old van didn’t have air conditioning, and the couple couldn’t see being in Georgia without it.
Though they already planned on getting another vehicle, winning the Virginia state tournament sped up the process.
The heat was a hot topic for parents as well as coaches Thursday. Gatorade and water stations were set up for the arriving teams, as the heat index was expected to reach 100.
While some chatted, others window-shopped.
Moms and players from West Virginia pressed their faces up against the glass of the souvenir shop even though it didn’t open for another hour.
Once open, many went after a gray T-shirt that had all the teams and player names printed on the back.
Meanwhile, Kelley Fulmer, league president for Irmo Little League, which is representing South Carolina, was busy getting decorating ideas for her own ballpark. Parents already have started asking about a covering for their stands as well as getting sunken dugouts.
Steve Hall, father of Tennessee player Dalton Hall, said the dugouts were all his son could talk about upon arrival.
“It’s pretty impressive,” he said of the stadium.
Hall left his father and three brothers in charge of the business while he made the trip down from Goodlettsville, about 20 miles north of Nashville.
Inside, where individual photographs were being taken, some of the out-of-towners were hitting up the locals for information, asking Warner Robins American Little League parents where to take their players on days off.
One North Carolina father asked a WRALL mother about teaming up to take the players to the movies.
Others were making predictions about the outcome.
“We’re going to win,” said Fulmer, wearing her custom yellow and green tennis shoes, which sported the Irmo Little League name along with “LuLu,” the nickname of her daughter, Alex, who plays for the team. Then she was off to spend some money at the gift store.
To contact writer Angela Woolen, call 923-5650.