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Team SoCal from Torrance Heading to Little League World Series

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Jonathan Linden
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91.9 KVCR

Torrance Little League is headed to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  

This past Saturday, Team SoCal from Torrance faced off against Team Hawaii for the West Region Championship Game in San Bernardino. Although SoCal lost to Hawaii, 7 to 2, they’ll still be heading to Williamsport, as the top two teams of each region are invited to the tournament. To get to the championship game, Team SoCal had to win four straight games after losing their first. They’ll be the first LA County team to make it to the series since 1994.

Carlton Emerson is the father of Outfielder Elias Emerson and told me about a nickname the parents dubbed the team through all their ups and downs. He said, “We call them the cardiac kids because they give us parents just heart palpitations because of how they play, and they get from behind and just continue to fight through and pull these wins out. So, it’s been a great exciting journey for us."

Emerson also told me what it’s been like to get to this point, saying, “The journey has been amazing. A lot of ups and downs; these boys have just shown a lot of resiliency and just grit and determination. They’ve come from behind in a lot of different games and so, for us to be here today means a lot.”

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Jonathan Linden
Cardboard cutouts showing all the Torrance players.

The player to make the biggest impact on the team was Grant Hayes, an Outfielder, and Pitcher. Over the tournaments' five-game period, he had 2 HR’s, 10 RBI’s, and a .471 batting average. He spoke with me about what he’s enjoyed most about the experience. He said, “I’m enjoying the, hitting home runs and stuff. And I’ve also been happy to spend time with my team. I’ve been growing up with them, playing with them since I was 10-years old. The relationship we have is strong because we all like each other, and we never have a problem with each other.”

Javier Chavez is the head coach. He told about sharing this experience with his son Christian, who’s an outfielder on the team. He told me, “It’s just a whole different experience with him and I, along with my Coach, Coach Turner, and his son Gibson Turner. I mean, being able to experience this all together with him is really special.”

Due to Covid-19 precautions, all the teams had to quarantine during the tournament. The same protocols are set for Williamsport. Coach Chavez told me he’s taken a different approach because it’s more than just coaching the players on the field. He said that it’s been difficult for some players to be away from family and that some were feeling homesick saying, “It’s more of, you know, bringing them up and making sure also they’re comfortable. Because if they’re not comfortable, that’s going to affect the way they play. So, it’s a big part of how we succeed.”

Team SoCal’s first game in the Little League World Series will be against Team New Hampshire on July 19th at 4 P.M., airing on ESPN.