Ocean View streaks into Williamsport

Ocean View won District 62, Section 10, Sub-Divisional, Southern California Divisional and Western Regional tournament titles to get to Williamsport. Ocean View is on a 12-game postseason win streak and has won 18 of 19 tournament games to get to the World Series. Its only loss was a 6-5 setback in seven innings to District 68 in a July 19 Section 10 game.

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Ocean View went 6-0 at the Western Regional and outscored its opponents, 41-6. Ocean View's first tournament win was a 10-2 rout of Red Bluff on Aug. 6, and it shut out three of its six opponents.

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Cumberland American Little League, Ocean View's World Series opening game opponent Friday, was 2-2 after the completion of pool play at the New England Regional but sneaked into the semifinals as the No. 3 seed. Cumberland knocked off No. 2-seed Connecticut (8-7) in the semis and defeated No. 4-seed Massachusetts, 13-7, in the regional final Saturday.

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Ocean View's Braydon Salzman struck out 11 batters on Friday and Ocean View scored all of its runs in the final three innings to defeat Washington Little League of Utah, 5-0, to move on to Saturday's title game.

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Ocean View was the designated visiting team for Saturday's final. In its previous Western Regional championship game appearances (2000, 2010), both losses, Ocean View was the designated home team.

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Trailing, 1-0, Nick Pratto reminded his dad of what took place in the 2010 Western Regional final.

"He told me, 'Dad, we scored first last year against Hawaii and they came back to win,' " Manager Jeff Pratto said. "We were slow to get going (Saturday), but we came through in the end with the game on the line."

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Steven Kotkosky's winning hit was his only hit of the game and first home run in the tournament. Kotkosky — who started Saturday's game in right field, moved to left and also played shortstop — has had a knack for big hits in Ocean View's postseason run.

"I was just happy to do what I could to help our team win," he said.

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Dylan Palmer had a big tournament batting in the No. 9 slot for Ocean View. Palmer, who started at third base Saturday, had a single and run batted in in Friday's semifinal win over Washington (Utah) and his single off starter Red Bluff Travis Clawson to open the third inning of Saturday's final was Ocean View's first hit of the game.

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A few of the Ocean View players were overcome with emotion after the game. Pitcher Hagen Danner was dry-eyed after the game, but had other thoughts during the game.

"I wasn't nervous at all to pitch," he said. "I just wanted to win this game. But it was really nerve-wracking for most of the game because we were struggling on offense and we were losing. I pretty much wanted to cry when Steven hit that home run. It was so exciting."

Danner struck out three of the four batters he faced in the second inning, then struck out the side in the third and fourth innings to record nine consecutive strikeouts.

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Red Bluff left-handed pitcher Wesley Clawson held Ocean View to its lowest hit total (three) of the tournament. Clawson shut down Ocean View's potent offense for five innings and excited after giving up the lead-off triple in the top of the sixth to Nick Pratto.

He previously surrendered back-to-back third-inning singles to Palmer and Danner and gave up four walks. Salzman had Ocean View's fifth and final hit when he singled off relief pitcher Lane Pritchard in the sixth.

"Clawson pitched a great game," Jeff Pratto said.

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Ocean View Little League president Stephanie Green is part of the league's entourage in Williamsport. She, like many of the those celebrating on the field after the league's ground-breaking victory Saturday, felt the emotions of the moment.

"I'm just so proud of these guys because they are the nicest group of boys," she said. "They love playing together, they love their fans and they are having a great time. I'm thrilled that our league was finally able to win the title. We've been so close before."

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District 62 chief administrator Mark Groh said that the district is seeking donations to send parents and families of Ocean View players to Williamsport. He said donation information can be found on the home page of the Ocean View Little League website.

"Some of the Ocean View families need financial assistance to get to the World Series," he said. "It's important that the players have their parents there with them during this special time."

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