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Northridge Little League All-Stars May Be on Verge of Something Big

TIMES STAFF WRITER

They never want to stop playing. Maybe that’s their secret.

Sometimes they must stop, as they did grudgingly Thursday morning after spending two hours scrimmaging under a scorching sun.

The Northridge Little League all-star team was to leave for San Bernardino and the Western Regional tournament in two hours. The players had to get home, grab some lunch and return to the field with their suitcases.

“We’d scrimmage all day, heck yeah,” said Spencer Gordon, the team’s right fielder, as his mother urged him to climb into her car.

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Northridge begins play against Anchorage, Alaska, today at 5 p.m in the eight-day, 14-team Western Regional, which includes one team from each of 12 states plus two from California.

Stop playing? The Northridge players vow they won’t stop until they win the Little League World Series championship in Williamsport, Pa.

It will take a lot of baseball to get there, but, of course, playing the game is what these 11- and 12-year-olds do best. Northridge, the Southern California champion, has won 12 games in a row in capturing district, section and division titles.

Those suitcases had better be packed with more than dreams. Should the team make it to the World Series final Aug. 27, the players will have been away from home for more than two weeks.

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In San Bernardino the players and coaches will stay in barracks. Manager Larry Baca and Coach George Saul might have an advantage over adults supervising some of the other teams: They are veterans of the National Guard.

“Some of the parents joked that Larry and George can teach the kids how to make their beds and pick up after themselves,” said Paula Mort, a Northridge Little League official.

A Little Way

* Who: Northridge Little League 12-year-old all-star team.

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* What: Western Regional.

* When: Today at 5 p.m.

* Where: Western Regional headquarters, 6707 Little League Drive, San Bernardino. Take Highway 118 east to Interstate 210 east to Interstate 10 east to Interstate 15 north to Interstate 215 east. Exit at Palm Avenue and turn north. Turn left at Little League Drive.

* Tickets: Admission is free.

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