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Ocean View Little League's run ends

Team of 12-year-olds ends its remarkable postseason after 4-1 loss to Waipio.

August 18, 2010|By Mike Sciacca, michael.sciacca@latimes.com
  • Ocean View's Nick Pratto (25) walks off the field following a 4-1 loss to Waipio during the championship game at the Little League Baseball Western Regional tournament at San Bernardino's Al Houghton Stadium Sunday.
Ocean View's Nick Pratto (25) walks off the field… (Scott Smeltzer,…)

SAN BERNARDINO — After the Ocean View Little League Majors All-Star team defeated Napa National in Friday's semifinals of the Little League Baseball Western Region tournament in San Bernardino, Manager Tod Minato said that Williamsport, Pa., home to the Little League World Series, felt as though it was "so far away" and a "long road" to get there.

So true, but at that moment, only one more victory stood between Ocean View reaching Little League Baseball utopia.

In Sunday's regional championship game at Al Houghton Stadium, Ocean View held a one-run lead after three innings against Waipio, but the champions from Hawaii scored four runs in the top of the fourth and went on to earn a 4-1 victory to punch its ticket to Williamsport.

Waipio, which won the regional two years ago and then went on to win the World Series title, will take on Northern Little League of Columbus, Ga., in a first-round World Series game Saturday.

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Ocean View, which defeated Hawaii, 2-1, in pool play Aug. 7, played 21 All-Star games and went 17-4 in a tremendous postseason run.

The locals went 4-2 in the regional.

It was the league's first trip to the Western Region championship game since the 2000 Ocean View team finished runner-up to the title.

"I think it was a fantastic run," Minato said. "The players, and all those who support Ocean View Little League, can be proud of what was accomplished for a long time."

Moments after Sunday's game, played before a standing-room-only crowd estimated at 12,000, Minato and Coach Sean Pouelsen led the Ocean View players from their third-base dugout toward the Waipio side of the field to applaud the Waipio fans — largely outnumbered — who returned the affection. It was custom for the Ocean View team to salute the opposition and their fans throughout the postseason, Minato said.

"In the pregame talk, I told the kids, 'let's make a pact,'" he said.

"We all agreed that we had gotten much further than we ever anticipated and that we all would be proud of what we accomplished, no matter the outcome of the game. I told them if they agreed with that, to extend their hand in the huddle before we broke away. Each one of them said, 'yes,' " and put their hand on the pile."

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