Williamsport special to Guam coach for more than one reason

by Nick Williams

Being back at the Little League Baseball World Series after a one year layoff is special enough, but Guam manager Shon Muna’s return to Williamsport is special for another reason too—his anniversary.

Saturday marked the two-year anniversary of the day Muna married his wife on the field in Lamade Stadium on August 20th, 2003, the year Muna led his first team to the Little League World Series.

Muna says it was his “dream” to lead a team all the way to the Little League World Series. When his dream came true and Guam won their regional championship game, clinching a spot as the Pacific representative in the LLWS, Muna, amidst the celebration on the field, asked his wife to marry him on the field in Williamsport.

“Right after the game I called my wife onto the field and asked her while the kids were running their victory lap,” Muna says. “And she said if the little league would allow us to do it would be a great honor.”

Well, apparently they did allow them to do it. And they did it on the 20th, which coincidently fell on Guam’s only off day in qualifying play.

However, Muna and his wife didn’t do any celebrating—at least in person anyway. Clarice isn’t here. She’s back at home in Guam.

In fact, while this interview was being held on Friday, Muna got a surprise phone call about halfway through.

The caller? His wife. The message? Happy Anniversary.

“Hello,” Muna says after answering his cell phone. “Oh, yes, it’s tomorrow for you. Happy anniversary. No I never forgot, the 20th. Ok, Happy anniversary too. I love you, bye.”

Muna hangs up the phone.

“Guam’s a day ahead,” he explains, “so it’s our anniversary back home.”

Back home, Muna says, is when he’ll do the celebrating. He says he’s going to party with everyone including his team and his two sons, Shon Jr., 13, who was a member of Guam’s 2003 LLWS team and Shane, 10.

“I’m going to basically celebrate with the team, my wife, my kids, and all the supporters,” Muna says. “Throw a party and congratulate everybody on the goal that we’ve achieved.”

It’s hard to tell if the goal Muna’s talking about is his anniversary or his team’s return to Williamsport. The way he talks about both, it’s easy to see he cares as deeply about one as the other.

When asked what the bigger thrill was: getting married on the field in Lamade or bringing Guam back to the Little League World Series, Muna pauses.

“Honestly,” he pauses again, inching a little bit closer before speaking again, this time in a quieter tone, “to bring this set of kids back here. To prove to our island and everyone else around the world that there’s a place out there where these kids come from and we work hard—just as hard as anyone else.”

That place is Mangilao-Barrigada, Guam, and it seems his kids’ hard work has paid off. They went 7-0 in regional qualifying, outscoring their opponents by an aggregate score of 58-18, including a 21-run victory over New Zealand. They beat last year’s Pacific representative, CNMI, 5-1. And after their 6-2 win against Russia on Friday, they became the first Pacific team to win a game in the LLWS since the 2002 Guam team went 2-1 and advanced the semifinals three years ago.

CNMI went 0-3 last year and Muna’s 2003 Guam team also failed to win a game. That team only scored three runs total in the three games they played, with all three runs coming in their last game. They suffered defeats of 9-0, 2-0, and 11-3, being outscored by a combined tally of 22-3.

It’s no surprise, then, that Muna feels like his team can provide a better showing this year than in 2003. The secret, he says, is focus.

“We’ve got a better focus on kids listening to their coaching staff, to I myself, and their supporting parents,” he says.

With two kids, a victory in the opening round, and a marriage he describes as “great,” it seems that Shon Muna has been focusing himself.

2005, Little League Baseball Incorporated
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