It’s been something of a whirlwind since Huntington Beach’s Ocean View Little League earned a trip to Williamsport with a thrilling 2-1 win over its Northern California challenger on Saturday night.
“It all happened very quickly. We got to go home (briefly) but then we were on a plane to Newark on Sunday,” said Pratto.
As the team, along with coaches Tony Cianca and Jose Martinez, prepares for its first Little League World Series appearance, Pratto said that the families are hurriedly making arrangements to join the team in Williamsport.
“I know a lot of (the families) need help. I’m not really sure what’s going on back home, but I know it’s very expensive to fly and the lodgings are very expensive here,” Pratto said.
What’s going on is a serious fundraising effort led by Ocean View Little League Board member Scott Pantel.
“Right now we are scrambling to get these families out there. As a league, we have a goal of raising $30,000 and we’ve currently raised $12,000.” said Pantel, noting that only the three coaches and 13 players were provided airfare and lodging by Little League International.
Ocean View vs. Rhode Island
Aug. 19 @ 12:00 p.m. PST
Watch on: ESPN or espn3.com on the web
Pantel said that smaller donations have been coming in from league members and some corporate sponsorships have been significant.
“714 Tickets.com put us on the map,” Pantel said of one especially generous donation. “And we would love to hear from Angels baseball. We’ve also had support from other local Little League (organizations). We are open to any kind of help.”
As Pantel leads the charge out west, Pratto is staying grounded in the east.
“I’m telling the team that they are already winners. We are the best in the west. I’ve told them to work hard and enjoy themselves and just focus on enjoying this most unique experience,” Pratto said.
“We’re so excited for these boys. It’s been incredible,” Pantel said.
Donations can be made online at Ocean View Little League’s website and further inquiries can be made by calling Scott Pantel at 714-767-5836.
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.