After falling behind 3-0, Park View rallied to defeat Taiwan 6-3 Sunday to win the 63rd Little League World Series before a national television audience and 32,400 at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.
Manager Oscar Castro talked about winning the championship for San Diego: “Being from San Diego, we always get close but we never get it with the Padres and Chargers. I’m really happy we got it for the city and for our community.”
Shortstop Andy Rios went 3-for-3, scored two runs and knocked in one for Park View. Third baseman Seth Godfrey went 1-for-2, driving in two runs. Kiko Garcia got the win in relief, working 3 1/3 innings of no-hit, shutout ball while striking out six.
Said Garcia on the thrill of winning: “To think you’re the best team in the world … wow.”
Taiwan took a three-run lead in the top of the third on two home runs.
Park View had built its reputation on the long ball, hitting a LLWS-record 19 home runs coming into the championship game. But today it won with small ball.
On not hitting any home runs, Garcia noted: “It’s kind of shocking because that’s what we usually do (hit home runs).”
Park View scored one run in the third on a single, double, intentional walk and a Taiwan error. The hosts left the bases loaded in the inning.
In the fourth, Park View struck for three runs with help from some unexpected sources. Jensen Peterson led off with an infield single, and Nick Conlin followed with a double. Peterson and Conlin came into the game a combined 0-for-8 in the series.
Godfrey, who the team likes to claim is Little League’s best No. 9 hitter, made it 3-2 with a sacrifice fly to center. Conlin scored the tying run on a wild pitch. After Garcia struck out and Luke Ramirez was intentionally walked, Bulla Graft drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out, line-drive single.
Chula Vista Park View becomes the second team from San Diego County to win the Little League World Series. El Cajon/La Mesa Northern won the title in 1961, defeating El Campo, Texas, 4-2.
Two other teams from San Diego County have played in the LLWS championship game. La Mesa Northern (1957) and El Cajon Western (1977) lost in the final.
Garcia sent this message to the team’s fans: “Thanks for being supportive. We brought it back to Chula Vista for you guys. I hope you enjoyed it.”