After going the distance to win the three-game Babe Ruth 18-and-under Southern California Regional, the San Gabriel Valley All-Stars celebrated briefly before refocusing.
San Gabriel Valley, coached by Crescenta Valley High baseball Coach Phil Torres and featuring several local players, spent part of Tuesday and Wednesday at Stengel Field making final preparations for the eight-team Pacific Southwest Regional. San Gabriel Valley will begin the tournament against Sacramento at 2 p.m. Thursday at Modesto Christian High.
It won't know much about its opponents, so Torres said San Gabriel's pitching staff will be expected to shoulder most of the load in the double-elimination tournament.
"We know we will go as far as our pitching will carry us," said Torres, who led San Gabriel Valley to World Series championships in 2004, 2006 and 2007. "In high school and college, you at least have some scouting reports on the teams you'll be facing; that's not the case here, so it might have to come down to specific matchups after the first game we play.
"The longer we play, the better we can be. They get more comfortable with the signs we give them and with each other."
San Gabriel Valley, which earned a 9-1 win against Heartwell of Long Beach on Sunday at Stengel Field to win the championship, will turn to starting pitcher Brian Gadsby to try to shut down Sacramento.
Gadsby, who helped Crescenta Valley win the Pacific League championship last season and earned the league's co-player of the year and All-CIF Southern Section Division II first-team accolades, said he's ready to help San Gabriel Valley take the next step.
"It gets a little harder because you continue to face better teams," said Gadsby, a right-hander and one of seven local players on San Gabriel Valley. "You play against teams you don't know that much about and that makes it that much more challenging.
"I think we have a very good team and we have confidence in one another to go out there and do well. We are very talented at a lot of different positions."
Other local players slated to participate for the 18-member San Gabriel Valley squad are Adrian Damla, Brett Klein, Joe Torres and Wes Walker of Crescenta Valley. They will be joined by Raul Camas and Cal Christiansen of Glendale Community College and Joe Torres of Point Loma Nazarene.
"We have to go out there and grind out our at-bats," Canas said. "We are really excited and it feels good to represent the area."
In addition to Sacramento, San Gabriel Valley will be joined in the tournament by Stanislaus, Hunter Cyprus, Arizona, Kings Tulare, San Benito and Taylorsville.
If SGV wins its opener it would play Friday at 5 p.m. against the winner of the San Benito-Taylorsville game. If SGV loses, it would play 2 p.m. Friday the loser of the aforementioned game.
The championship contest will be played at 5 p.m. Monday and an if-necessary game would be played 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first game.
The winner will advance to the World Series, which will be held Aug. 7-14 in Ephrata, Wash.