As the Little League World Series gets underway in Pennsylvania, some little leaguers closer to home have something to celebrate: a beautiful new baseball field.
What makes it special is that it's a first for Ford Heights, one of the most impoverished suburbs in the Chicago area.
"This is a new day. This is a day that we all envisioned,” said baseball coach Kirby Green.
Green created the Ford Heights Little League program just three years ago, a league that didn't have a field to play on -- until now.
FOX 32: What does it mean for these kids to have a beautiful new field to play on?
"This is something they can be proud of for the rest of their life,” Green said.
"This is an amazing day that many people didn't think they'd ever see,” said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.
Dart is key to the story. His officers patrolled ford heights for many years because the village was too broke to afford it owns police force. When the sheriff's office learned these little leaguers could only play road games in neighboring communities because they had no home field, they decided to act.
"We knew that the kids desperately needed something to do after school. Something that would take care of their idle hours and give them life lessons and teamwork,” said Joseph Ryan of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff's office pulled together nearly a quarter million dollars in donations from a number of sources, including Major League Baseball and the Chicago Cubs.
And on Friday, the ribbon was cut on Excell Walker Field -- the first regulation youth baseball field in Ford Heights.
Former Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel gave $11k out of his own pocket and was present for the dedication.
"I found out about Coach Kirb's story. It really hit home. Baseball's a game that's meant to be learned at a young age. And to not have a field to go out and experience that is a shame,” Hammel said.
Now, these players have something they'd never experienced before -- home field advantage.
"We didn't have anybody show up because they were all road games. And now that we have home games we have everybody showing up,” said Little League player Dominique Curry.
Even without a home field, the Ford Heights Little Leaguers have performed well. Two of the four teams won their league championships this year.