Finally. That’s all every San Diegan was thinking Sunday afternoon as Park View Little League out of Chula Vista, California gave San Diego a claim to a World Championship in something. WE finally did it. What a great performance by US.
On Sunday, WE finally got OUR championship. Suck it world, San Diego (county) has the best little league team on the planet.
Park View’s 6-3 comeback win over Chinese-Taipei in the 63rd Little League World Series showed just what kind of people we raise out in San Diego.
The U.S. representatives got behind 3-0 early after back-to-back home runs in the top of the third. In the bottom half of the third, Park View answered with a run. In their next at bat, reserve Jensen Peterson led off with an infield single and Nick Conlin – who was hitless in the series to that point – followed with a double. Then Seth Godfrey, the No. 9 hitter, hit a sac fly to cut the deficit to 3-2. Conlin then scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. After a hit by Andy Rios, pitcher Kiko Garcia struck out, before the 6’2, 212-pound Luke Ramirez was walked intentionally. Bulla Graft then laced a clutch two-out single to center to put Park View up 4-3.
The team added two insurance runs in the fifth inning on an RBI double by Graft and a single by leadoff batter Andy “Hollywood” Rios. Rios, the team’s shortstop, led Park View in home runs (with a LLWS record five), RBIs and spectacular defensive plays. Rios started a clutch double play with the bases loaded and one out that saved a sure run in the top of the fifth.
The Park View team may be one of the best Little League teams ever. They broke the LLWS record for home runs with 19, and blew out an undefeated Texas team in the United States Championship, 12-2.
But frankly this is about San Diego. As Park View manager Oscar Castro said after the game, “It seems San Diego comes so close all the time. The Padres come close and don’t win. The Chargers come close and don’t win. It was nice to do it for the city.”
Now, you may be saying “But Phillips, El Cajon won a LLWS title in 1961.” Yeah that’s not the same, it wasn’t truly a worldwide event back then. This year there were 32,400 people at Howard J. Lamade Stadium and a national television audience on ABC.
You also might also point out that it’s odd I’m praising Chula Vista when just three weeks ago I often referred to it as Chula-juana or the place where the IIRIRA of 1996 went to die (there was a joke for people on both ends of the education spectrum in that sentence). Well that’s just preposterous, I was just kidding for all those years. I love Chula Vista. I head down there all the time when I need landscaping done.
Is it a bit thin for all of San Diego to be latching on to a team that’s not actually from within San Diego’s city limits? Um, New Yorkers seem to love the Jets and the Giants, yet both teams actually play in New Jersey.
Besides, have you seen what we’ve got in San Diego? The Padres are on their way to a second consecutive last place finish in the National League West and The Chargers are coached by Norv freaking Turner. We’ll take whatever we can get at this point.
The larger point is, I love the kids on that team. All of them. Congrats boys, you killed it. They dominated the competition and were classy while doing it. Plus, they were from (a place relatively close to) my hometown. Awesome.