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Diamonds are forever: Little League World Series to CIF champions Phillip Brents | Fri, Jun 13 2014 02:43 PM

Five years ago, youth baseball fans were abuzz in Chula Vista as Park View’s fabled Blue Bombers earned the coveted title of Little League World Series champions. The passage of time has not erased those once-in-a-lifetime memories, especially for the team’s players and coaches and its parental support group.

And the memories only keep rolling in.

Three members from that 2009 LLWS championship team made history last Saturday as they helped their respective high school teams capture record-shattering San Diego Section baseball championships in games played at the University of San Diego.

Bradley Roberto and Daniel (Junior) Porras were members of Olympian High School’s Division IV championship team while Seth Godfrey earned a CIF champions patch with Bonita Vista High School’s Division II championship squad.
The division championships were the first for both schools.

“It’s just as exciting — it was a big game,” noted Porras, who closed out the second-seeded Eagles’ 5-4 victory against fourth-seeded Mar Vista by pitching the final three innings on the mound.

“The difference this time is that I was pitching and the catcher ran to me (to celebrate after the final out). When we won the Little League World Series, I was the catcher and I ran out to Kiko Garcia (to congratulate him).”

Usually when mention is made of the 2009 Park View LLWS championship squad, a grimace appears on the faces of team members. But that was not the case on Saturday.

In fact, the Roberto family proudly waved a cardboard cut-out of Bradley they kept from the team’s LLWS championship run. After the game, Bradley even had fun posing with the hallowed piece of memorabilia.

Memories: then and now.

“We always have fun with it,” Roberto explained. “It’s something I’ll never forget, hearing that PVLL chant. During (Saturday’s) game, the guys would give me and Junior the PVLL chant every time one of us was batting.”

Roberto finished the Division IV championship game with one RBI.

Porras pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, allowed one run to score on a wild pitch in the sixth and survived another scare in the seventh by holding the Mariners to one run on a bloop single while stranding the potential game-tying and game-winning runs on base.

Both players have done very well at the high school level.

Roberto hit .416 in 96 plate appearances with 14 RBI, five doubles, three triples and 24 runs scored (second most on the team). He also stole nine bases and recorded a 1-0 pitching record with a 3.00 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched.

In 16 pitching appearances, Porras fashioned a 2.66 earned-run average to go with a 1-0 record, two saves, and 19 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched. In 18 plate appearances, Porras hit .429 with four RBI, one double and two runs scored.

“Not as many home runs,” Porras grinned when asked to compare the experiences of playing in the LLWS and for the Eagles in their spacious park on campus.

Roberto, who will continue his baseball career at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire, said the playing atmosphere is totally different from Little League.

“There’s more stress involved because you never know when your career will end,” he said. “A lot of people, after high school, never play baseball again.”

Roberto said he is looking forward to playing at the collegiate level.

“I’m excited — it will definitely be different from high school, but I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

Godfrey, who hit .069 with two hits and one RBI in 36 plate appearances this season, had a hand in helping his team score the final run in its 4-0 win over the top-seeded El Camino Wildcats.

Wyatt Rauch opened the top of the seventh inning for the Barons by being hit by a pitch. Godfrey then bunted the pinch runner to second. A fly-out by Eduardo Perez placed the BV runner at third base. He then scored on a misplay by the El Camino first baseman.

As Godfrey returned to the dugout after his perfectly-executed sacrifice, he was greeted with cheers and hand-slaps by teammates.

The former Park View player wore an ear-to-ear smile, along with the rest of his teammates, after the game’s final out.

Champions again
Saturday’s Division II championship game — despite being the first appearance for the Barons since 1992 — also was history-making on another level.

Three members of this year’s CIF championship Bonita Vista team also won a PONY-13 World Series championship with Chula Vista North in 2010. Those players include juniors Daniel Schneemann and Ricky Reynoso and senior Brandon Torio.

All three impacted Saturday’s division final.

Reynoso pitched five innings while allowing just two hits and striking out 17 batters to pick up the win in Saturday’s championship game. He also stole one base.

Reynoso ended the season with a 5-1 record on the mound, 1.43 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 54 innings pitched. In 80 plate appearances, he batted .224 with four RBI and six runs scored.

Torio went one-for-three with a first-inning single to drive in two runs; he also pitched the final two innings to pick up the save while not allowing a hit and issuing only one walk. In the field, he made a spectacular leaping catch on a ball ticketed for extra bases while playing the third base position.

Torio hit .333 in 110 plate appearances in 2014 with 20 RBI, nine doubles, one triple and 17 runs scored. He went 6-3 with four saves, had a 1.96 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 50 innings.

Schneemann finished the season with a .235 hitting average, 15 RBI, three doubles and 13 runs scored. Though he hit into a double play in the first inning, one base-runner did score on the play to increase the Barons’ lead to 3-0.

The BV second baseman did not hesitate to make a comparison between winning the PONY-13 World Series and the Division II CIF championship.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said in reference to both events. “CIF is like a world championship game.”

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