Park View Little League 12U all-star team is treated to hometown pep rally

MONSTER BASH SEND-OFF ALLOWS SO CAL CHAMPIONS ONE LAST SWING AT PRACTICE

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Park View Little League's 12U all-stars were headliners on the hit parade at Thursday's Monster Bash pep rally at the league's playing complex in Chula Vista. Photo by Jon Bigornia

Come what may for Park View Little League’s 12U all-star team in the upcoming Little League World Series Western Regional tournament in San Bernardino, one can certainly say the team is prepared — and excited to take the next step, one that could lead it to the iconic Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa.

The Green Monsters were toasted one last time locally at a community pep rally held Thursday at the league’s playing complex at Greg Rogers Park in Chula Vista before departing Friday afternoon for San Bernardino.

The boys will be housed at the complex adjacent to Al Houghton Stadium for the duration of the tournament, which begins Sunday (Aug. 5) and ends with the championship game next Saturday (Aug. 11).

Park View is among six teams in the region competing for the right to advance to South Williamsport. The recently crowned Southern California champions will meet Northern California champion Tri City Little League from Rocklin in Sunday’s opener at 7:30 p.m.

The game will be telecast on the ESPN+ streaming service. Buffalo Wings Wings will host a viewing party at Chula Vista Center (555 Broadway), starting at 6:30 p.m.

Park View Little League began play in 1959. Fifty years later, in 2009, the league gained worldwide attention by winning the Little League World Series. It advanced a second team to South Williamsport in 2016 and appears to be working on advancing a third team, if everything works out in San Bernardino over the coming week.

Current Park View president Johnny Fuentes was involved with the league back in 2009. He has served as league president the last few years and had the chance to accompany the 2016 team to the LLWS.

Understandably, the 2009 world championship caused a spike in registration numbers the following year at the centrally located Chula Vista league. The 2016 LLWS appearance also drove up numbers.

“After 2016, we had close to 600 kids,” Fuentes noted at Thursday’s pep rally. “We had 12 teams in Minor B. We didn’t have enough fields. We had to play on Sunday.”

More than 500 kids were registered this past season, so interest remains high a decade after the first team from the league gained youth baseball immortality.

The numbers certainly seem to provide a solid talent base. While the 2009 team earned the nickname Blue Bombers for its propensity to blast home runs, the 2018 team plays more of a small ball game, though it showed it also can play long ball, especially over the last two tournaments.

“Each year is different,” Fuentes said. “This year’s team has come out undefeated with 11 wins. It seems to be a different hero each game.”

“It’s hard to explain,” Mike Rodriguez, an eighth grader at the Otay Ranch Academy of Arts, said when asked to paint a picture of the team’s ongoing success story.

The team is unquestionably talented. But there are other facets that also breed success.

One of them is team chemistry. These guys don’t believe in letting each other down.

“Team bonding,” pointed out Aidan Skinner, a seventh-grader at Rancho del Rey Middle School. “We rely on each other to succeed. When one of us gets down, we pick each other up and keep moving forward. We never give up.”

Team chemistry is a strong point on the 2018 Green Monsters. From left, Conner Alonzo, Aidan Skinner, Atticus Gates and Joseph Anderson. Photo by Phillip Brents

Catcher Joseph Anderson, an eighth grader at the Madeleine School, broke down the team’s undefeated record into more basic fundamentals.

“We’ve been hitting the ball well and our pitching has been strong,” he explained. “Everyone likes to hang out together off the field. It’s been fun.”

Luke Ramirez, one the media darlings from Park View’s 2009 LLWS championship team, was present to give a pep talk to the 2018 during Thursday’s Monster Bash pep rally. He talked about how his own journey paralleled that of the current group, and what they should expect once they get to San Bernardino.

The players will live together for a week in the dormitories on site at the Little League complex. For some, it may be the first time they have been away from home for an extended period. Getting along, supporting and being respectful of teammates will be just as important as drawing up game strategy.

“This is where the ‘wow factor’ starts,” Ramirez said.

He later added, “Somebody has to win … why couldn’t it be this team?”

Indeed, why not?

Park View last took the playing field a week ago in a 5-2 win over Huntington Valley Little League to capture the Southern California championship title. Thursday’s pep rally seems to have re-channeled all that loose energy.

“I can’t wait to get back on the field and get some hits,” Skinner said, smiling.

Park View Little League 2009 alumnus Luke Ramirez was interviewed during a live segment of Thursday’s KUSI-TV news broadcast after providing an inspirational pep talk to the league’s current all-star team. Photos by Jon Bigornia

Past meets the present…

 

Get to know them: 2018 Park View Green Monsters

Jose Mendoza – Rancho del Rey Middle School, eighth grade
Jordan Bleisch – Rancho del Rey Middle School, seventh grade
Aidan Skinner – Rancho del Rey Middle School, seventh grade
Allan Camarillo – Rancho del Rey Middle School, eighth grade
Conner Alonzo – Rancho del Rey Middle School, eighth grade
Atticus Gates – Rancho del Rey Middle School, eighth grade
Makai Corpus – Rancho del Rey Middle School, eighth grade
Anthony Leyva – Rancho del Rey Middle School, seventh grade
Matt Bjornstad – Eastlake Middle School, eighth grade
Kainoa Baptista – Bonita Vista Middle School, seventh grade
Ivan Rodriguez – independent study, eighth grade
Michael Rodriguez – Otay Ranch Academy of Arts, eighth grade
Joseph Anderson – Madeleine School, eighth grade

Thursday’s Monster Bash pep rally allowed the community to experience a slice of Americana with a meet and greet of Little League celebrities. It also offered one final chance for the team to get in a practice on its home field.

Photos by Jon Bigornia

Aidan Skinner makes a catch.

Jose Mendoza delivers a pitch to the plate.

Atticus Gates sizes up a pitch.
Joseph Anderson gets solid wood on the ball.
Practice makes perfect …

Michael Rodriguez appears to have that home run swing down pat …
Time for team moms to get some recognition …

Got your Green Monsters gear in time for Sunday’s TV viewing party?
Well-wishers had a chance to offer words of encouragement to the team at Thursday’s pep rally. Teammates also had a few encouraging words for … teammates …

For updates, follow the California District 42 Little League Facebook site: www.facebook.com/California-District-42-Little-League-182342061799435/

 

 

Keep track of the tournament:

LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL 2018
WESTERN REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Aug. 5-11 in San Bernardino

Games of Sunday, Aug. 5:
Hawaii vs. Arizona, 9 a.m.
Southern California vs. Northern California, 7:30 p.m.

Games of Monday, Aug. 6:
Utah vs. Hawaii-Arizona winner, 11:30 a.m.
Nevada vs. Southern California-Northern California winner, 4:30 p.m.

Games of Tuesday, Aug.7:
Elimination bracket game, 11:30 a.m.
Elimination bracket game, 4:30 p.m.

Games of Wednesday, Aug. 8:
Elimination bracket game, 7 p.m.

Games of Thursday, Aug. 9:
Winners bracket semifinal, 6 p.m.

Games of Friday, Aug. 10:
Elimination bracket semifinal, 6 p.m.

Games of Saturday, Aug. 11:
Championship game, 6 p.m.

 

LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL 2018
NORTHWEST REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Aug. 5-11 in San Bernardino

Games of Sunday, Aug. 5:
Alaska vs. Oregon, 11:30 a.m.
Idaho vs. Washington, 4 p.m.

Games of Monday, Aug. 6:
Montana vs. Alaska-Oregon winner, 9 a.m.
Wyoming vs. Idaho-Washington winner, 7 p.m.

Games of Tuesday, Aug.7:
Elimination bracket game, 9 a.m .
Elimination bracket game, 7 p.m.

Games of Wednesday, Aug. 8:
Elimination bracket game, 4 p.m.

Games of Thursday, Aug. 9:
Winners bracket semifinal, noon

Games of Friday, Aug. 10:
Elimination bracket semifinal, noon

Games of Saturday, Aug. 11:
Championship game, noon

 

 

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR EXPERIENCE ATTENDING THE LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL® WESTERN REGIONAL TOURNAMENT MORE ENJOYABLE

SAN BERNARDINO, CALIF. – The 48th Annual Little League Baseball® Western Regional Tournament will be held from Aug. 5-11 at the Little League® Western Region Headquarters, 6707 Little League Drive, San Bernardino.

Games on the complex will be played at Al Houghton Stadium; named after the first regional director of the Western Region who was instrumental in the building of the headquarters.

Admission and parking are FREE for all games. However, parking is limited, so you need to plan accordingly. The gates will open approximately 30 minutes before the first game of the day.

The weather is projected to be very HOT during this week’s tournament, so dress appropriately. Hats and sunscreen are recommended. Remember to stay hydrated. Water, various drinks, and food will be available for purchase at the stadium, as well as a variety of Regional and Little League souvenirs.

There are several restrictions that must be adhered to:

NO alcoholic drinks are allowed.

In addition, glass items, firearms, knives or noise makes are also prohibited.

NO Ice chests are allowed in the stadium.

Security will check all bags.

There is also no commercial photography, videos, web streaming or pay-per-view of the games.

NO pets are allowed (except for service animals).

There is NO smoking in the stadium, and is limited to a designated smoking area near the front gate off the main parking lot.

Please note that lawn chairs can only be used in the outfield and at the top of the stadium.

If you are unable to attend, the semifinals and championships will be on ESPN. All other games will be on ESPN+.

You can also follow the games live via GameChanger at www.gc.com. Tournament scores, schedules, and more can be found at the Little League Western Region website at and through the Little League World Series section of LittleLeague.org. More information and detailed coverage of the tournament can also be found on Little League’s official social media accounts (@LittleLeague).

Enjoy rooting for your team and attending this year’s tournament, which will include West Region and Northwest Region brackets. One team from each region will advance to play in the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

For more information on the Little League Baseball West and Northwest Regions, visit LittleLeague.org.

 

Photo courtesy Little League Baseball

Opening ceremonies and games set for Aug.5 at 48th Annual Little League Western Regional Baseball® Tournament

SAN BERNARDINO – The infield grass is a bright emerald green and perfectly cut. The state flags are ready, dorm rooms clean, and menus finalized. With television cameras being set up and families completing last-minute travel plans, 10 state champions and two California divisional champions descend on San Bernardino for the 48th Annual Little League Baseball® Western Regional Tournament, set to begin on Sunday, Aug. 5.

The tournament includes the West Region and Northwest Region brackets, as one team from each region will move on to play in the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

There will be four games on Sunday. The first will be held at 9 a.m. with Hawaii (Honolulu LL) playing Arizona (Sunnyside LL from Tucson) in the West Region opener. The opening game for the Northwest Region will be between Oregon (Murrayhill LL from Beaverton) and Alaska (Gastineau Channel LL of Juneau) at 11:30 a.m., followed by Washington (West Seattle LL) playing Idaho (Coeur d’ Alene LL) at 4 p.m.

The nightcap at 7:30 p.m. will feature a California matchup with Southern California (Park View LL from Chula Vista) playing the Northern California champion (Tri City LL from Rocklin).

Prior to the 7:30 p.m. contest, Northeast Los Angeles LL will be presented with the 2018 Carl E. Stotz Little League Community Award. Named in honor of the founder of Little League, the Carl E. Stotz Little League Community Award was created in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of Little League in 2014. The award is presented annually to a local Little League program that has worked with their community to create a lasting impact and positive environment for the families and children in their hometown.

Opening ceremonies will be held prior to the last game (approximately 6 p.m.) and will be highlighted by the parade of state champions with all 12 teams on the field.  The teams and fans will be treated to a special fly-over by one of the helicopters from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Air Division. Mayor R. Carey Davis from the City of San Bernardino will also throw out a ceremonial first pitch. New Western Region Director April Meehleder will preside over the ceremonies and welcoming the teams to the Western Region Headquarters.

The Northwest Region will continue on Monday, Aug. 6, with Montana (Boulder Arrowhead LL from Billings) taking on the winner of the Oregon/Alaska game at 9 a.m., while Wyoming (Gillette LL) will play the winner of Washington/Idaho at 7 p.m. that evening.

In the West Region, Utah (Dixie LL from St. George) will play the winner of Arizona/Hawaii at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 6, with the winner of Southern California/Northern California playing Nevada (Silverado West LL from Las Vegas) at 4:30 p.m.

The Western Regional Tournament will have games on Tuesday, Aug. 7, and Wednesday, Aug. 8, as the tournament progresses. Tuesday’s games will be at 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. On Wednesday, there will be two games at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Former MLB player Calvin Pickering, one of the pioneering players from the Virgin Islands, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at 11:30 am on Aug. 7.

The semifinals for the Northwest Region will take place at noon on Thursday, Aug. 9, and Friday, Aug. 10, with the championship game set for noon on Saturday, Aug. 11. The West Region semifinals will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday with the championship game at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The winners of both regions will see their first action in the Little League Baseball World Series on Friday, Aug. 17.

The Western Regional semifinals and championship games will be broadcast live on ESPN with the remaining games being carried on ESPN+.

All West Region and Northwest Region tournament games will be played at Al Houghton Stadium on the Little League Western Region Headquarters site, 6707 Little League Drive, San Bernardino, CA. Admission for all games is FREE.

For more information on the Little League Baseball West and Northwest Regions, visit LittleLeague.org.

 

West Region Notebook
Having played the most games to get to the Western Regional, Park View Little League of Chula Vista (south of San Diego) will be representing Southern California. It will be its second trip to San Bernardino in three years and third in nine years. In 2016 and 2009, Park View LL won the West Region and went on to play in the Little League Baseball World Series; bringing home the title in 2009.

Northern California will be represented by Tri-City Little League from Rocklin. It will be Tri-City LL’s first appearance in the regional.

The first game of the tournament will feature Arizona and Hawaii at 9 a.m. on August 5. Arizona will be represented by Sunnyside Little League from Tucson, marking its first appearance in 27 years. Sunnyside LL last appeared in 1991, and also appeared in 1984 and 1979.

The state of Hawaii will be represented by Honolulu Little League. This will be its second trip to San Bernardino, with the first occurring in 2014.

Representing the state of Utah will be Dixie Little League from the City of St. George in southern Utah. Dixie LL also represented Utah last year and has been to the Western Regional in four of the last six years. This is its eighth appearance overall.

The Nevada State champion is Silverado West Little League from Las Vegas. This is Silverado West LL’s first appearance in the tournament.

 

Northwest Region Notebook
The Northwest Region’s first game will feature Oregon State Champion Murrayhill Little League from Beaverton against Gastineau Channel Little League from Juneau, Alaska.

This will be Murrayhill LL’s first appearance in eight years after being a regular fixture in the 1990s and 2000s. In 2006, Murrayhill LL won the Northwest Region and played in the Little League Baseball World Series. This will be the 12th appearance for a team representing Murrayhill LL.

Gastineau Channel LL will be making its fifth appearance in San Bernardino, with the last being in 2015.

Representing the state of Washington is West Seattle Little League. It will face Coeur d’ Alene Little League, the Idaho state champion. This is also West Seattle LL’s first trip to the Northwest Region.  This is Coeur d’ Alene LL’s fifth appearance overall, and first since 2013.

The Wyoming state champion is Gillette Little League. This is its second straight year in the tournament and sixth overall.  In a rare occurrence, Gillette LL’s softball team also won the Wyoming State championship this year and recently appeared in the Little League Softball® Western Regional.

The Montana state champion is Boulder Arrowhead Little League from Billings. Last here in 2015, this is its 11th appearance in San Bernardino.

All games are free and will be played at Al Houghton Stadium, 6707 Little League Drive. To get to the site, take the I-215 freeway and get off at the Palm Ave/ Kendall Dr. off-ramp and take Kendall to Little League Drive.

Baseball teams earning their way to the Little League Western Regional include:

Alaska: Gastineau Channel LL, Juneau, AK
Arizona: Sunnyside LL, Tucson, AZ
Hawaii: Honolulu LL, Honolulu, HI
Idaho: Coeur d’ Alene, Coeur d’ Alene, ID
Montana: Boulder Arrowhead LL, Billings, MT
Nevada: Silverado West LL, Las Vegas, NV
Northern California: Tri City LL, Rocklin, CA
Oregon: Murrayhill LL, Beaverton, OR
Southern California: Park View LL, Chula Vista, CA
Utah: Dixie LL, St. George, UT
Washington: West Seattle LL, Seattle, WA
Wyoming: Gillette LL, Gillette, WY

There will be some special ceremonial first pitches during the tournament from former professional baseball players who will sign autographs for 30-minutes at the souvenir stand behind the right field fence.  Scheduled to appear:

  • Monday, Aug. 6 @ 4:30 pm: Adam Kennedy (2002 World Champion Anaheim Angels).
  • Monday, Aug. 6 @ 7 pm: Marge Villa (All-American Girls Professional Baseball League).
  • Tuesday, Aug. 7 @ 7 pm: Kevin Gross (Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 8 @ 4 pm: Chad Zerbe (2002 National League Champion SF Giants)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 8 @ 7 pm: Dave Coggin (Philadelphia Phillies pitcher)
  • Thursday, Aug. 9 @ 6 pm: Mike Sweeney (Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer)

In addition, Pete Arbogast, play-by-play voice of the USC Trojans football team, is scheduled to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at the 4:30 pm game on Aug.7.

The tournament schedule, scores, video clips and more can be found at www.littleleague.org/west-region.  The games will be televised on ESPN+ (Aug 5-8) and ESPN (Aug 9-11).

Photo courtesy Little League Baseball

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