California Love
With its 6-3 win over Chinese Taipei, the Park View Little League from Chula Vista, Calif. brought the Little League Baseball World Series Championship back to The Golden State for the first time since 1993.

Author: Allie Weinberger - Special Correspondent

Source: South Williamsport, Pa.

Date/Time: Sunday, August 30, 2009, 3:00pm ET

It’s been a long time coming for San Diego County.

Of the 42 California teams to grace the championship game at the Little League Baseball World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., just four have hailed from the San Diego area, the county’s last title coming in 1961.

The 2009 Park View Little Leaguers from Chula Vista, Calif. would change all that Sunday afternoon at Howard J. Lamade Stadium, as they secured the title of World Champions with a 6-3 come-from-behind win over Chinese Taipei.

“For me, it’s great,” said West region manager Oscar Castro. “We’re one of the first teams from San Diego [to get here] in a long time, so it’s huge for us.”

And while San Diego’s history in the Series championship isn’t necessarily long, it is distinguished. The county first debuted in South Williamsport in 1957, when La Mesa was shut out by Angel Macias and Monterrey, Mexico, 4-0, in the only perfect championship game ever pitched in Little League Baseball’s 63-year history. San Diego’s only previous championship came in 1961 when a team from El Cajon took a 4-2 victory over El Campo, Texas. The region would appear just once more before 2009 – in a 7-2 El Cajon loss to Chinese Taipei in 1997 – setting up a rematch 32 years in the making.

“Thanks for being supportive, we brought it back to Chula Vista for you guys,” pitcher/outfielder Kiko Garcia said to his San Diego supporters. “Hope you enjoy it.”

With the win, Park View Little League becomes the first California team to take the Little League Baseball World Series title since 1993 (Long Beach), despite hailing from the state with the most Series appearances in the United States (42) and the second-most all time, behind only Canada (53).

Sunday afternoon against Chinese Taipei, Chula Vista also padded California’s lead for the state with the most World Series titles (6), two more than Connecticut and New Jersey (4).

“Being from San Diego, we’re always close with the Chargers and the Padres and whatnot,” said Castro, “so I’m glad we could bring this back for our community.”

The United States has now won five consecutive Little League Baseball World Series championships, dating to 2005 when West Oahu, Hawaii of the Northwest region took a 7-6 extra-inning victory from Curacao. In fact, the last time the American side fell in the title bout was also the last time a team from The Golden State advanced to the Sunday game – in 2004 when California (Thousand Oaks) fell to Curacao, 5-2.

But now, the West champs also have a streak of their own going, securing back-to-back titles for their region with Sunday’s win after Waipoi, Hawaii earned the championship trophy in 2008.

“It feels good because last year the West won it and now this year it was a repeat,” said offensive leader and starting shortstop Andy Rios. “So it felt good to get the title back.”