The Sleep Train Amphitheatre has seen many musical legends rock the amphitheatre stage. But Thursday night the biggest show in town was the 12 boys ensemble that comprised the Eastlake Little League All-Stars.
Needing no opening act, the team drew a rock star like ovation from the thousands of cheering fans dressed in Eastlake gear.
Eastlake All-Stars pitcher Grant Holman, the starting pitcher in Eastlake’s 6-4 loss to Japan in the international championship game, said he notices the rock star treatment.
“People are treating us differently than they did before we went as far as we did,” Holman said before the festivities kicked off.
Representatives from California District 42 Little League presented the mayor with a blue Eastlake
The boys from Eastlake received a special pep talk backstage from Baseball Hall of Famer and Mr. Padre
Gwynn is the favorite baseball player of Eastlake All-Stars outfielder Kevin Bateman. Bateman wears No.19 in honor of the baseball legend.
Bateman said it is always nice to meet his baseball idol.
“It’s cool to meet him again,” Bateman said.
Gwynn introduced the Municipal de Tijuana Little League team, who were a special guest.
“They invited us out here, and the truth is we are very honored to be here and to be recognized by the Eastlake Little League All-Stars,” said Tijuana manager Francisco Fimbres “So we are here supporting the event tonight.”
The team across the border finished the tournament in third place. At one point, both teams, who are
located just 20 miles apart, shared the stage.
Throughout the Little League World Series, it looked as if the two teams were going to meet each other in the World Series championship game, but Tijuana’s lost to Japan in the international championship game eliminted any chance of that happening.
But Gwynn suggested that both teams should still play against each another in an exhibition game.
“We need a sponsor, we’re going to need a place to play, and the last thing it sounds like we are going to need a lot of seats because I think everyone is going to want to see this game,” Gwynn said.