The Little League World Series is always pure, always enjoyable, and captures the attention of the entire nation.
That’s why it’s not a surprise that even the big leaguers have been paying attention to the 2012 event in Williamsport, PA. The Oakland Athletics were like a lot like all baseball fans yesterday as California, represented by Petaluma National Little League (PNLL), took on a talented team from New Jersey and won in dramatic fashion.
As the team won its game, several members of the A’s celebrated in its own clubhouse as the youngsters played inspired ball. When they had sealed the victory, third baseman Brandon Inge gave teammate Jonny Gomes a celebratory pie-to-the-face. They were clearly having as much fun with the victory as the kids were.
Danny Marzo went deep as he connected on a breaking ball that sailed over the right field wall in extra innings to give California a 5-4 walk-off win and give his team a chance to fight another day.
Their Major League counterparts know a little bit about dramatic wins as well, winning an MLB-best 20 games in 2012 during the final at-bat.
“I don’t know if we’re watching them or they’re watching us,” said Gomes, a Petaluma native and financial contributor to the league. “It must be something in the water up here.”
Petaluma will try to bottle up whatever it’s found and take it with them as they have a tough rematch against a very talented Connecticut team in an elimination game. The team from the Northeast is coming off a no-hit performance by Will Lucas, the 12-year-old right hander.
Whatever happens, the team has already captured the hearts of an entire state, including Gomes, who was the team’s biggest fan while watching the game in the clubhouse and wearing a PNLL T-shirt. That’s why we love the Little League World Series.
The team from California — win or lose — will always have Major League support.
Michael C. Jones is the Editor of Sports Out West. For more insight, you can follow him on Twitter.