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Yankees Honor Little League Champs

September 2, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ The world’s best Little League team got a chance to take the field with baseball’s best team.

The Toms River, N.J., team which beat Kashima, Japan, on Saturday to win the Little League World Series championship, was honored by the New York Yankees before Tuesday night’s game against the Oakland Athletics.

Each of the youngsters ran onto the field with a Yankee to take their respective positions for the national anthem.

``I almost cried, it was awesome,″ said Chris Cardone, a reserve player who became the championship game hero by hitting two home runs.

Cardone and his teammates received T-shirts, caps and other goodies from the Yankees, and got to meet some players before the game, including favorite Derek Jeter, who signed autographs. The team then watched the game in the Reggie Jackson Suite with family and friends.

As Cardone stood in left field before the game with Tim Raines, he heard his name being chanted by the fans in the Yankee Stadium right-field bleachers _ a ritual reserved only for the Yankees.

``It was unbelievable,″ Cardone said. ``I couldn’t believe it. It felt really super.″

On Wednesday, the Toms River team is taping a Rosie O’Donnell show, which will be broadcast on Labor Day, and Cardone is set to appear with David Letterman on Thursday.

On Sunday, the Yankees similarly honored the Kashima team.

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