It’s a long way from Long Beach to Williamsport, Pa., but that’s where a Little League team from California found its field of dreams.
On Saturday the Long Beach team became the 1993 champions of the Little League World Series. It was a thrilling moment for the local team, which will be honored in a parade today.
The championship was sweeter this year than last because, as Long Beach team manager Larry Lewis put it, the team earned its second consecutive title on the field. Last year the Long Beach team lost the championship game at the League Little World Series. But it was awarded the title after the opposing Philippines team was disqualified for using players who were over the age limit.
The Long Beach team returned to Williamsport on Saturday afternoon, with their families, to play before a packed stadium. They were tied 2-2 with their opponents from Panama going into the final inning when pinch hitter Jeremy Hess came off the bench to drive in the winning run. The game had its touching moments of sportsmanship, missed opportunities and nervous parents, all captured on national TV. Any parent or sports buff could relate to the emotions, which were as riveting--especially Hess’s ecstatic mother--as the game itself.
So congratulations to Long Beach and its Little League champs. The youngsters worked long and hard to achieve their goal. And after last year’s championship by default, an outright win on the field must be particularly sweet.