Community rallies behind team

HUNTINGTON BEACH — The bar and grill was humid with the number of people crammed inside. Every seat was taken and the pool tables were converted to couches for kids eating French fries.

The already noisy room reached a fever pitch Saturday afternoon as Huntington Beach's Ocean View Little League secured a spot in the Little League Baseball World Series final.

Kids and adults alike took to their feet at Suds Surf City Sports Grill, 5932 Warner Ave., after Ocean View defeated Big Sky Little League from Billings., Mont., 11-2, setting up a matchup against Japan at 9 a.m. PDT Sunday.

"Honestly, like this is amazing," said Garrick Danner, the older brother of Hagen Danner, a pitcher and catcher for Ocean View. "I've never seen so many people cheering for a Little League team."

The room was filled with "OV" baseball caps and marigold yellow T-shirts with "West" on them, resembling what the players wore on the field.

The merchandise was being sold to support the players' families with the expense of traveling to Williamsport, Pa., said Jim St. Pierre, Ocean View Little League's chief umpire. The community already has raised more than $30,000, he said.

"It's amazing how many people are watching them and getting behind them," St. Pierre said.

The city of Huntington Beach is getting behind the team, too, with a parade in its honor set for 3 p.m. Sept. 10, Mayor Joe Carchio announced Friday. Carchio was at Suds on Saturday cheering on the team.

The parade will begin at Orange Avenue and Main Street, go down Main toward Pacific Coast Highway and end at Pier Plaza.

"These kids have done an incredible job of representing the city of Huntington Beach, the state of California and the entire West Coast," said Carchio in a statement, "and we want to be sure they are recognized and the community can demonstrate their appreciation."

"We are all so proud of their accomplishment of going this far in the Little League World Series."

For Garrick Danner and his sister, Annalie, 15, watching their brother on TV has been an amazing experience.

"It's exciting," Annalie said. "It definitely is. If they win, it's a dream come true."

With the team set to compete in the championship game Sunday, Garrick Danner said he will be back at Suds to cheer on his brother.

"Obviously," he said, "this is the place to be."

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