Conejo Valley East Little League of Thousand Oaks, Calif., Powers Into 2004 Little League Baseball World Series
Entering the game with a 16-0 record, 4-0 in the West Regional, Conejo Valley East had trailed for only two innings in the regional tournament, played at Al Houghton Stadium, on the complex of the Little League Baseball Western Region headquarters in San Bernardino, Calif.
Green Valley Little League had played in the West Region final on two other occasions, and both times was denied a trip to Williamsport by a team from California.
In the bottom of the first inning, Conejo Valley East jumped out to a 4-0 lead as Tim Ginter led of with a double, and Danny Leon followed with the first of his two home runs. Tyler Karp then singled, and John Lister hit a double that scored Karp. Lister would account for the fourth run, scoring on a single by James Brady.
Green Valley scored its first run in the third inning on a solo home run by Corey Welsh, making the score, 4-1. In the bottom of the inning, Lister extended the Conejo Valley East lead to 6-1 with a two-run home run.
A four-run rally by Green Valley in the top of the fourth inning was highlighted by Chad Whiteaker’s three-run home run, and cut the margin to 6-5.
Conejo Valley East’s Leon hit his second home run in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend the lead to, 7-5, and the Southern Calif., team added one more run in the fifth inning.
Cody Thomson was the winning pitcher, working into the fourth inning before being relieved by Karp, who recorded the save.
Conejo Valley East Little League has outscored its opponents in tournament play, 134-20, while Green Valley Little League entered the game outscoring the opposition, 65-12. The Henderson, Nev., team ended the tournament, with a 4-2 record, with both losses coming to the West Region champions.
Teams from California have won the Little League Baseball World Series five times, the most recent in 1993 when Long Beach won the second of its consecutive world championships. California has been a Little League Baseball World Series runner-up, a record 14 times. The last time a California team played in the world championship game team was 1997, when South Mission Viejo Little League was defeated by Linda Vista Little League of Guadalupe, Mexico, 5-4.
The 11 teams that have already qualified for the 2004 Little League Baseball World Series are: Redmond North Little League of Redmond, Wash.; Lamar National Little League of Richmond, Texas; Owensboro Southern Little League of Owensboro, Ky.; Davenport Northwest Little League of Davenport, Iowa; Morganton Little League of Morganton, N.C.; Kutno Little League of Kutno, Poland; Curundu Little League of Panama City, Panama; Shou Tien Little League of Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei; Saipan Little League of Saipan, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands; Pabao Little League of Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles; and Linda Vista Little League of Guadalupe, Mexico.
The Little League Baseball World Series for 11-12-year-olds will be played in Williamsport, Aug. 20-29. Sixteen teams from around the world will take part.
ABC will televise the Little League Baseball World Series U.S. championship game on Aug. 28, at 7:30 p.m. The world championship game of the Little League Baseball World Series can be seen live on ABC at 6:30 p.m., on Aug. 29. Twenty-five other World Series games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 for a total of 27 games on national television.
The next berth in the Little League Baseball World Series will be decided on Friday in Kutno, Poland, when the Transatlantic Region Tournament is due to end. The final international entrant in this year’s World Series will be decided on Saturday in Brossard, Quebec, when the Canadian Region Tournament is scheduled to conclude.
The remaining U.S. region finals are: New England (Bristol, Conn., Saturday, ESPN, 8 p.m.) and Mid-Atlantic (Bristol, Conn., Sunday, ESPN2, 5 p.m.).
Little League Baseball is the largest organized youth sports program in the world, with 2.7 million participants in all 50 states and more than 70 other countries.