Ocean View slides safe into home

Nearly 1,000 people greet Ocean View Little League champions as they return to Huntington Beach.

August 30, 2011|By Mike Sciacca,
  • The Ocean View Little League All-Star team watch a fireworks show at Murdy Park in Huntington Beach in honor of their World Series title.
The Ocean View Little League All-Star team watch a fireworks… (Steven Georges,…)

The Ocean View Little League All-Star team received the red-carpet treatment upon its return home to Huntington Beach on Monday night.

Arriving to chants of "OV" and "USA," the All-Stars were greeted by an enthusiastic crowd that came out to support the 2011 Little League Baseball World Series champions. The players stood before the gathering as a fireworks display illuminated the league's playing fields at Murdy Park.

Ocean View completed an incredible two-month postseason summer run Sunday by coming from behind to defeat defending champion Japan, 2-1, at Williamsport, Pa. Ocean View is the first Little League team from Orange County to win the title, the second team in three years from California to win it (after Park View Little League of Chula Vista in 2009) and seventh from the state overall in the 65-year history of the iconic tournament.

"I will say that winning the World Series is great, but it really doesn't compare to this right here," Ocean View Coach Tony Cianca told a crowd of about 800 that responded with cheers and whistles. "This is unbelievable."


The past two days have been a whirlwind for Ocean View. The All-Stars defeated Japan and then celebrated their milestone victory later Sunday. Monday, the team traveled to Cleveland and then Houston before making its stretch run to Los Angeles International Airport and then to its home turf.

Only upon seeing the massive gathering at Murdy Park did everything begin to sink in for player Justin Cianca as he stepped into a sea of supporters.

"I thought that there would be a lot of people here to support us, but when we got off the bus, I was shocked," said Cianca, who turned 13 on Monday. "Once I got off the bus and saw the crowd, that's when it all hit me, what we had done. It's crazy and incredible, something I won't forget. This is the best birthday ever."

In Williamsport, Ocean View faced domestic challenges (Rhode Island, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Montana), an international power (Japan) and a serious threat from a force of nature, Hurricane Irene. Ocean View won five of its six games in the series and outscored its opponents 36-4. It posted three shutouts and defeated Northwest Region champion Billings Big Sky Little League (Montana), 11-2, to win the U.S. championship Saturday.

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