It was back to school Wednesday for the Blue Bombers but it was hardly a normal school day.
The boys, some of them arriving in limos, returned to their schools and were greeted by screaming fans.
“They left normal, they became celebrities, now they’re back home like normal celebrities,” a seventh grader said about her classmates.
The crowd went wild as Luke Ramirez, Jensen Peterson, Oscar Castro, Bradley Roberto, Isaiah Armenta and Markus Melin got up on stage at Rancho Del Rey Middle School, which is the largest middle school in the County.
Someone asked Luke Ramirez how many baseballs he had signed but he couldn’t answer. They asked him if he had lost count. “Yes,” he replied.
The place was packed and had overflow seating with big screens so everyone could see the boys receive plaques and trophies on stage -- which they said was more nerve-wracking than any Little League World Series game.
They weren’t the only nervous ones.
Daniel Porras Jr. had to face hundreds of screaming fans at Hilltop Middle School without his teammates and was too overwhelmed to speak on stage.
Principal Linda Stanley told Daniel how proud the school was of him and how proud she was of his demeanor during the welcome celebration.
“You are looking awesome this morning,” Stanley said.
She handed him a plaque, a baseball bat signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and told him that they had painted a banner on the side of a school building in his honor. And there was one more gift, maybe the most coveted of all.
“From me to Daniel, any time that Daniel wears the Park View shirt, a Little League champion shirt, any kind of shirt affiliated with his great accomplishment, he gets to be out of uniform,” Stanley said.
Andy Rios also faced the celebrations without his teammates at St. Pious. It started with a message that came over the loud speaker:
“Andy Rios to the Principal’s office,” the announcer said.
As he left the principal’s office his classmates surprised him with a welcome home celebration.
Next up is Bulla Graft, Kiko Garcia, Seth Godfrey and Nick Conlin at Bonita Vista Middle School. The four players are being honored at a lunchtime assembly.
Tonight, Padres player Adrian Gonzalez is taking the boys to a steak dinner at Donovan’s in a limo bus. Tomorrow they’re going to be on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien and in a couple of weeks they’re expected to be honored in Washington D.C., and by the Padres and Chargers before their opening games.