The exciting Park View little leaguers from Chula Vista are heading to the Little League World series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Park View scored 5-runs in the fifth inning to break open a tie game and defeated a team from Northern California Sunday night 11-4 to qualify for the World Series. Park View, which has been crushing the baseball all week, smashed four more home runs in the game.
"It feels great," said slugger Kiko Garcia. "This is what all 12 and 13 year olds that play little league baseball dream of."
"I am so proud of these kids," said coach Ric Ramierez. "We're clicking, and playing great baseball. I wouldn't bet against us."
The game was held before an estimated 13,500 fans who packed Al Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino. Many traveled north from Chula Vista and chanted “P-V-L-L” throughout the intense game.
Park View dominated the competition, winning 6-straight games without a loss at the Western Regional Little League tournament. The team hit an astounding 38-home runs, including the four Sunday night, during the tournament.
Sunday, Park View got off to a quick start in the first inning. Andy Rios led off the game with a line drive home run over the right field fence. Two batters later, Kiko Garcia smashed a two-run homer, his 11th of the tournament, to give the team from Chula Vista a 3-nothing lead.
"We've been working on our hitting, and it's paying off," said shortstop Rios.
But for the first time, Park View, which came into the game having outscored opponents 87-11 in the tournament, found themselves in a tight game.
Pitcher Luke Ramirez, who stands 6’2”, 205 lbs., pitched his way out of several jams in the first two innings. Northern California finally broke through in the third inning. Connor Greer hit a 2-run home run to cut Park View’s lead to 3-2. Then Grant Powers stole home later in the inning to tie the game 3-3.
Northern California pitcher Mitch Hart pitched a brilliant game, but had to be removed from the game in the fifth inning due to the 85-pitch count limit in little league. With Hart out, Park View was able to break the game open.
With the bases loaded, Bradley Roberto drew a walk, which forced in Bulla Graft giving Chula Vista a 4-3 lead. Then Oscar Castro smashed a single off the right field fence to score Ramirez and Garcia, making the score 6-3. Daniel Torres followed with an infield single that scored Roberto to make it 7-3. Park View added another run when Seth Godfrey beat out a ground ball mishandled by the Northern California second baseman.
In the sixth inning, Park View continued its home run barrage. Ramirez went deep to make it 10-4. Then Garcia hit his second home run of the game and 12th of the tournament giving the boys from Chula Vista an 11-4 lead.
Isaiah Armenta pitched the last 3 2/3 innings to get the win for Park View.
Prior to the game, Adrian Gonzalez of the San Diego Padres telephoned the Chula Vista team with well wishes. Interestingly, Rios now lives in the boyhood home of Gonzalez.
Park View is scheduled to leave for Pennsylvania from the L.A./Ontario International Airport at 11:30 a.m. Monday. The Little League World Series begins on Friday.