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Park View sluggers go the distance, win SoCal state title Phillip Brents | Thu, Aug 25 2011 08:36 AM

Park View Little League has done it again! Reminiscent of the fabled Park View Blue Bombers’ run to the 2009 Little League World Series title, the league’s 10-11 year-old all-star team has captured this year’s Southern California state championship title.

Park View defeated Section 5/District 30 champion Tustin Eastern by scores of 13-3 and 8-3 last weekend at Chollas Lake Little League to officially claim the Division III championship.
At this age level, all-star tournament play ends at the division level. Older age divisions, however, continue play through the zone and world championship stages.

Park View becomes the second consecutive San Diego County team to win the Southern California championship in the 10-11 age division following Rancho San Diego’s perfect 14-0 journey to the top last summer.

The Division III championship is the first for Park View Little League at this age level.

“Last year when we formed the 10-year-old all-star team, we thought we had a special group of boys, but then again, perhaps every manager who loves this game feels the same way about their boys,” Park View manager Gregg Houck said. “At that time I told the team and parents that this was a three-year plan and that we had a goal to accomplish, which was to do what the 2009 Park View All-Stars had done — to make it to the Little League World Series — and hopefully win it. I created our motto of ‘ALL-Stars, not ONE-Star’ And the boys truly embraced that.”

Coaches Genesis Legaspi and Steve Galasso echoed the Park View manager’s words.
“We have a special group of boys,” Legaspi said. “They all play hard and do their part. Everyone stepped up, this was a team effort.”

“Our goal was to win district this year,” Galasso said. “Once we did that, we were on cruise control. For me, this year it didn’t matter how far we went, but I was pleasantly surprised by how far we did go. Now we know what we’re capable of.”

Park View Little League President Rod Roberto must be getting goose-flesh at the thought of what the future might bring.

“At the 11-year-old level getting to the divisional round is the farthest you can go,” Roberto said. “It’s a good indicator that the work of the coaches, parents and players is paying off.  At the same time, it means nothing next year. There is no credit for winning the previous year. We still want to work hard, play baseball the right way, and need some luck to get where all Little Leaguers want to get to.”

Success was not immediate for this Park View team. Park View lost by one run to Eastlake in the District 42 championship game in 2010. This year’s Park View team features the same lineup with the exception of one player, Marc-Cole Flores, who was added this year for his speed and defensive ability.

This summer, Park View’s championship run included titles at the district, Section 7, Sub-Division III South and, finally, the Division III Southern California state championship tournament.

“This is the highest an 11-year-old team can go,” Houck said.

Park View finished its terrific run with a 12-1 record. The team’s only loss came in the Sub-Division III South tournament to Encinitas 11-3. However, since it was a double- elimination tournament, Park View had an opportunity to come back and play in the championship game, which the Chula Vistans own 13-3 over Encinitas.

Players include Aaron Marientes, Cole Houck, Geo Jimenez, Javier Nunez, Joshua Joiner, Justin Eicher, Justin Legaspi, L.J. Jones, Marc-Cole Flores, Matthew Brumbaugh, Octavio Galasso and William Dunkle.

The Park View group turned in a combined .432 hitting average with 25 home runs and a fielding percentage of .974 for the all-star tournament season.

Jones led the team in hitting average (.634) and home runs (nine) while also driving in 27 runs. He hammered three home runs in a game against  Mission Viejo in the Sub-Division III tournament.

Park View’s pitching staff included Galasso, Houck, Dunkle, Nunez, Eicher, Jones and Brumbaugh. “All had outstanding games to lead us to victories,” the elder Houck said.

Middle infielders Houck and Nunez failed to commit an error in the team’s 13 All-Star tournament games.

Legaspi was outstanding as the team’s lead-off hitter with a .511 hitting average (second best on the team) and an on-base percentage of more than .650. He reached base in every single game.

Marientes, as the team’s catcher, caught in every single contest, starting 11 of Park View’s 13 games.

Brumbaugh ranked third on the team with a .486 hitting average while contributing six home runs and 22 RBI.

Nunez and Galasso tied for fourth on the team with identical .444 hitting averages. Nunez had four home runs 16 RBI while Galasso had two home runs 12 RBI.

Meanwhile, Jimenez, Joiner and Eicher provided outstanding support coming off the bench to provide timely hits when needed. Eicher provided the home run power.

The elder Houck said the team’s overall depth was the key to winning games. “This is one of the biggest challenges for any Little League team — how deep a team is on the bench normally determines how far they can go,” he said.

Park View went far.

But powerhouse statistics alone didn’t make this team successful, according to the team’s coaching staff.

“I have been asked what is the biggest reason for this team’s success and the answer is simple — we have terrific parents!” the elder Houck underscored. “Our families are extremely supportive and many sacrifice a lot of their time to make this team successful. Honestly, our coaching staff could not have done it without their tremendous dedication and support. They should make a special banner just for them.”

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