After winning the Section 7 Tournament in El Centro, Eastlake heads to state championship
CHULA VISTA, Calif. ( KYMA, KECY-TV ) - Today the Eastlake 12U All-Star Little League team will compete in the 10-team Southern California divisional championship tournament in Fletcher Hills. The District 42 and Section 7 champions enter the state tournament riding a seven game win streak where they've outscored their opponents 63-3.
"We're looking forward to the tournament," Head coach Randy Whitney said. "But we're going to stay humble and hungry."
Eastlake won the Section 7 championship which started at Frazier Field in El Centro and finished at Fletcher Hills.
"Typically that's what usually happens when the Imperial County teams get knocked out," District 22 commissioner Jose "Pepe" Larios said. "It helps cut down travel and expenses for the teams from San Diego."
Section 7 is known throughout Southern California for producing top notch contenders on the road to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.Whitney said the experience at Frazier Field helped his team prepare for the road to Williamsport.
"Despite the heat and the traveling we did have a good time," Whitney said. "Our kids are hard knock, it's old school sandlot baseball, they're ready for any condition on any given field."
The pandemic wiped out tournaments across the country and cancelled last year's Little League World Series. That's what makes this year so exciting, the chance to return to the iconic setting although there is a twist.
"Because of the pandemic no international teams will be invited this year," Larios said. "Instead they'll take the top two teams from each region. It will be all American teams this year."
In order to get there, Eastlake will have to win the state tournament this weekend in Fountain Valley.
"It's the brotherhood of these kids," Whitney said. "It's there chemistry and camaraderie. It started back in t-ball and in school and their friendships, it just carries onto the field. There guys are a great bunch, they are hard workers and they have fun. That's the scary thing, they work their butts off and they have fun, that's a scary combination."
In 2013, Eastlake represented the United States in Williamsport before falling in the championship game to the team from Tokyo, Japan. This year, Eastlake will make another run and it starts today in Fountain Valley.
Eastlake will face Torrance, the District 27 champion at noon today. The full state tournament bracket can be found here.