Eastlake Little Leaguers begin World Series play Friday

CHULA VISTA (CNS) – The Eastlake Little League All-Stars from Chula
Vista are scheduled to begin play in the Little League World Series Friday,
facing the Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores Little League All-Stars from Grosse
Pointe, Mich., in South Williamsport, Pa.

Eastlake won four tournaments to become the 10th San Diego County team
to qualify for the World Series, posting a 18-1 record.

“They're a great team,” said Rudy Lopez, the manager of Belmont-
Redwood Shores Little League All-Stars, the only team to defeat Eastlake.
“They have some great pitching. They hit the ball hard.”

Eastlake lost to Belmont-Redwood Shores, 3-2, Aug. 7 in the final West
Region pool play game for both teams. Eastlake avenged the loss by defeating
Belmont-Redwood Shores, 9-0, Saturday in the West Region Tournament
championship game.

Eastlake is the first San Diego County team to qualify for the Little
League World Series since 2009, when the Park View Little League All-Stars from
Chula Vista won the Little League World Series.

“We all know what Park View did,” Eastlake manager Rick Tibbett said. “We don't want to be like them, but we are ourselves and
our team.”

In an interview following Saturday's victory, Tibbett attributed the
success of South Bay Little League all-star teams to players playing baseball
year-round and “a little bit of luck.”

Eastlake was also helped by the competition it faced in its three
tournaments before the West Region, Tibbett said.

“We went through a lot of tough games,” Tibbett said. “There were a
lot of good teams in there. That hardened us. We knew what competition was. We
knew how to hang in there.”

Strong pitching was another factor, Tibbett said.

“We have seven pitchers we can throw every single night,” Tibbett said.

Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores, the Great Lakes Region champion, is “not
the most athletic team, but we pitch well,” manager Tom Mazzola told the
Detroit Free-Press.

Chad Lorkowski, who, at 12, is 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 200
pounds, will be Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores' starting pitcher.

Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores is the first Michigan team to play in the
Little League World Series since 1998.

Friday's game is scheduled to begin shortly after noon and will be
televised by ESPN. A viewing party will be held at the EastLake Tavern & Bowl,
881 Showroom Place.

If Eastlake wins, it will play Sunday at 2 p.m. against the winner of
today's game between the all-star teams from the Newark National Little League
from Newark, Del., the Mid-Atlantic Region champion, and the Urbandale Little
League from Urbandale, Iowa.

A loss would force Eastlake into a game Saturday at 5 p.m. against the
Newark-Urbandale loser. The eight U.S. teams are playing in a double-
elimination format to determine the two participants in the U.S. Championship
game, which is set for Aug. 24.

Eastlake is assured of playing at least three games in the Little League
World Series.

Categories: KUSI