The four youth baseball players holding court down the right field line at the Hart complex Tuesday couldn’t agree on how many total miles their team had driven, how many years the players had been on the same team or how many games they’d won to reach this week’s Mustang World Series in Louisiana.
Hunter Manning, Landon Hu, Brady Werther and Drew Provost, however, agreed on how it felt to finally knock off Irvine in the West Zone championship game on Sunday.
“It felt so good,” Werther said.
“So good,” Manning said.
Werther, Manning and the Hart Gold 10U Mustang team beat Irvine 7-4 in the West Zone championship game on Sunday in Los Alamitos to advance to the Mustang World Series.
Manning pitched the final inning, raising his arms and crying in celebration after the final out.
Not without reason.
Irvine knocked this group of Santa Clarita baseball players out of the postseason twice in past years.
Coach Roland De La Maza told his squad when it finally beat its rival, it’d be in a game that mattered.
But it wasn’t the only game that mattered.
Hart won an open division tournament in Camarillo in June, which allowed it to skip ahead to the region tournament in Bakersfield in mid-July.
The team went unbeaten there, but found the road through a super region in San Marcos the following week considerably bumpier.
After a win in the opener, Hart fell to Irvine and dropped into the loser’s bracket. But losers they proved not to be.
Hart rattled off five wins in a row, capped by a win over a defending World Series champion team from San Diego to advance to the West Zone regional.
The rest is history.
The team flies out today and opens the World Series against host Youngsville of Louisiana on Thursday.
The four Hart players agreed on this, too: They will be ready.
The tournament also features teams from North Carolina, Indonesia, Aruba, Mexico and Florida.
8U Hart team finishes runner-up
The Hart 8U Red team advanced to the championship of the Pinto World Series in San Jose last month, losing to Olive, a team out of Orange County, 4-2, on July 16.
Hart beat Tustin in a must-win game at a super region to advance to the World Series.
“Everybody was ecstatic,” said coach Gregg Johnson. “We were going crazy, the kids were jumping up and down.”
Hart has not advanced an 8U team to the World Series since 2011, according to Johnson, whose assistant coaches were Tommy Breech and Nick Lawson.