Thu, Aug 15 2013 05:39 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
There are 12 of them, each between 12 and 13 years old, plus two coaches and one manager. They are the Little League West Region champions from Eastlake Little League in Chula Vista.
So much for introductions.
Eastlake Little League becomes the second team to represent California District 42 at the Little League World Series.
The players all live within a few blocks of each other and all are friends. Friendship and the will to win for each other has been the team's greatest strength thus far in building an impressive 18-1 all-star tournament record.
They play together (whiffle ball when not practicing) and win together.
Eight of them attend Eastlake Middle School, another Rancho Del Rey Middle School and three others private schools.
Are any of them your neighbors by chance? Their success has made them no longer just Eastlake's team but also Chula Vista, San Diego and the entire West Region's team.
Here's a snapshot of each team member courtesy of Little League International:
#7 Micah Pietila-Wiggs
Position: Second base
#9 Ricky Tibbett
Position: Pitcher, Third base
#25 Rennard Williams
Position: Pitcher, Catcher, Third base
#18 Dominic Haley
#3 Patrick Archer
Position: Catcher, Outfield
#19 Kevin Bateman II
#4 Jake Espinoza
Position: Pitcher, Outfield
#16 Giancarlo Cortez
Position: Pitcher, First base
#17 Grant Holman
Position: Pitcher, Shortstop
#8 Charly Peterson
Position: Pitcher, Outfield
#15 Michael Gaines
#5 Nick Mora
Position: Pitcher, Catcher, Third base, Shortstop
Manager: Rick Tibbett
Coach: Eddy Espinoza
Coach: Doug Holman
District administrator: Ernie Lucero
League president: Ray Diaz
What has been so enjoyable about the team's championship ride this summer?
Micah Pietila-Wiggs: "How we're all friends and work together. We don't let each other down."
Jake Espinoza: "We never let each other down. It's more fun when you win as a team."
Kevin Bateman: "Working together ... We've played together for three years now, so we know each other real well."
Michael Gaines: "That we can bond so easily. It makes it easier to get along and have each other's back."
Charly Peterson: "It's been really fun because everyone is close. That makes me want to give the team all I've got and give 110 percent because I know everyone else on the team is doing the same."
Nick Mora: "We've all known each other for a while. We're all friends. We always have fun practices ... To be a part of that is a good feeling."
Grant Holman: "It's awesome. It's exciting to chase the dream to Williamsport."
What's the most exciting part of hitting a home run?
Jake Espinoza: "You get to run around the bases knowing you've given your team another run."
Grant Holman: "It's exciting. The more runs we get, the better chance we have of winning games."
Who has the best hair (on the team)?
Micah Pietila-Wiggs: "I do."
The Road to Williamsport
West Region Championship
(Aug. 2-10 in San Bernardino)
Eastlake 16, Hawaii 2
Eastlake, 15, Nevada 0
Eastlake 11, Utah 3
Northern California 3, Eastlake 2
Eastlake 12, Nevada 0
Eastlake 9, Northern California 0
Division III/Southern California Championship
(July 27-28 at Long Beach Little League)
Eastlake 6, Sherman Oaks 3
Eastlake 5, Sherman Oaks 0
(Eastlake wines best-of-three series, 2-0)
Sub-Division III/Southern California Championship
(July 20-24 at Corona National Little League)
Eastlake 10, Huntington Valley 6 Eastlake 12, Corona National 8
Eastlake 10, Highland 3
Eastlake 15, Highland 5
California Section 7 Championship
(July 13-16 at Spring Valley Little League)
Eastlake 15, Twin Hills 0
Eastlake 10, Rancho San Diego 0
Eastlake 11, Rancho San Diego 7
California District 42 Championship
(June 29 to July 8 at Eastlake Little League, Imperial Beach Little League, Sweetwater Valley Little League)
Eastlake 10, Chula Vista National 1
Eastlake 13, Imperial Beach 2
Eastlake 15, Sweetwater Valley 1
Eastlake 8, Sweetwater Valley 0
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