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Community spirit on tap for LLWS Chula Vista homecoming Phillip Brents | Fri, Sep 06 2013 02:14 PM

Vanessa Sullivan, Bianca Hernandez and Rachel Sullivan were first in line at Sleep Train Amphitheatre’s west entrance for the Eastlake Little League 12-under all-stars’ Aug. 29 homecoming event. The trio carried homemade signs and were wearing the yellow West Region T-shirts that have become the collectible item of late.

They were genuinely excited about the prospect of meeting the 2013 Little League World Series U.S. champions.

“I love to support them,” Rachel said. “It’s so cool that they’re representing everyone from Eastlake.”

And beyond.

As the gates finally opened an hour before the festivities began on stage, fans continued to file in by the hundreds.

The Mexico champion Tijuana team that finished third in the LLWS was among the early arrivals and posed for photos.

“It was beautiful,” manager Francisco Fimbres recounted of his team’s two-week stay in Williamsport. “This was our first time in the (Little League World Series) tournament. The kids did their job and had fun. It was the best tournament in our lives.”

The Mexico champs finished 20-2 overall. Fimbres said it was the fourth year that Tijuana had put its hat in the ring in a bid to qualify for the LLWS.

“This is something we’ve been working toward,” Fimbres said. “All of Tijuana is proud of this team.”

Showing community spirit seemed to be at the top of the list for those attending the Chula Vista homecoming event.

“It’s exciting,” Miss Eastlake titleholder Raquel Lopez said. “I’m very involved in the community. I’m very proud of them, especially for achieving something so noteworthy being so young.”

Lopez joined Miss Chula Vista Lizzy Mata, Miss South County Alyssa DeBoo and Miss Bonita Allayszia Mouzon at the homecoming event.

Boy Scout Troop 1194 Chula Vista provided services during the flag salute ceremony. Troop member Gustavo De Leon said he felt it was personally a “great honor” for the troop to be selected to perform the flag ceremony, saying he was “very excited about it.”

Brianna Morgutia and Vanessa Esquer attended as part of the Eastlake High School cheer squad. Both said it was an honor to be involved in the ceremonies.

“I grew up here and they’re representing us, it’s cool,” Morgutia said.

“It’s also my community,” Esquer interjected. “I’m proud of them for going so far.”

Three players from Sweetwater Valley Little League wore their jerseys to the event. Wyatt Lannom and Sabino Muro were part of this year’s 11-under squad that finished runner-up in the Sub-Division III South championship game.

Wyatt’s younger brother Walker was a member of the SVLL 10U all-star team.

The Eastlake 12U team has served as obvious inspiration to fuel the baseball dreams of many other players.

“Next year I just can’t wait to go to Williamsport,” Muro said.

“I have a year to grow out my hair to be like Micah (Pietila-Wiggs),” Wyatt offered.

“I don’t want to cut my hair until we can get there in two years,” Walker chimed in.

Among those wearing yellow T-shirts while waiting for the gates to open was Eastlake Middle School student Keila Bosinger. However, the yellow shirt that she had on her back was no ordinary T-shirt: it was autographed by several members of the Eastlake Little League team.

Eight of the 12 boys attend EMS and Bosinger, a member of the school’s yearbook staff, drew the assignment of taking a team photograph of them when they returned to school earlier in the week.

“I had insider privileges,” she confessed. “It was cool.”

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