If Jeff Pratto seems relaxed about the prospect of competing for a Little League World Series appearance at the famed Little League Western Regional Complex in San Bernardino, it’s because he’s already been there.
Pratto’s son Nick was part of the 2010 Ocean View Little League All-Star team that battled deep in the tournament and then lost in the finals to Hawaii.
A year later, Nick and his teammate Hagen Danner, both 12 years old, are the only two players from that team to go back at it again in the 2011 Little League Western Regional tournament that will host 12 teams from 11 states in their quest for a ticket to Williamsport.
This time around, Jeff Pratto has taken the helm of the Huntington Beach-based Ocean View Little League team, along with coaches Tony Cianca and Jose Martinez, and he feels confident in the group of boys that will be taking the field tonight.
“We’re a different team than last year,” Pratto said. “We rely on our pitching depth. We hit throughout the line-up. We have power hitters and pull hitters. Defensively, we are very sound.”
Pratto said that in the 13-game run that began in late June, the one contest that stood out among all the others was their 5-4 victory over Chula Vista’s Park View Little League team. Park View earned its first World Series championship in 2009.
As they wait for their time to shine, Pratto said that the gamers from Ocean View have been keeping themselves busy practicing, getting cage time, swimming, eating meals, trading pins, watching other games and playing Xbox with their roommates in the dorms who are from Montana.
Ocean View Little League will begin a four-game pool play set versus Northern California’s Red Bluff Little League at 7:30 tonight at San Bernardino’s Little League Western Region Complex, 6707 Little League Drive.
To learn more about this or other games, visit littleleague.org/west.
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at email@example.com with comments or questions. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.