The El Segundo All-Stars Inspire Local Pride as They Return Home Victors of the Little League World Series
We are the champions.
- Written byKat Monk
The El Segundo All-Stars baseball team arrived home champions of the Little League World Series, held this year in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The team represents the West Region of the United States. As the players made game-winning moves in both the U.S. and international finals, they proudly made a point of highlighting the “West” on their jerseys.
Taking the U.S. title first wasn’t easy. They had to overcome sickness and a loss to Texas with three consecutive must-win situations to avoid elimination. With an opportunity for redemption, they met back up with Texas—the team that put them in the contender’s bracket—in the U.S. championship game and prevailed when it mattered most.
The world title was no walk in the park either. Their rival, Caribbean champ Curaçao, was favored to win the international bracket, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Although “the West” took the lead and held it for most of the international game, Curaçao hit a grand slam in the fifth inning, tying the game 5-5.
In the bottom of the sixth, pitcher Louis Lappe, nicknamed “the Natural,” followed up with a game-winning walk-off homerun in the sixth and final inning. While it might be common in Little League to both pitch and hit, Louis does it exceptionally well. After weeks of celebrations, many of the players appeared to be a bit beleaguered with yet another parade, but Louis stood with a grin from ear to ear and waved to the exuberant fans who lined the streets of El Segundo.
Louis didn’t do it alone. Brody Brooks, the team’s #1 hitter, can be credited with El Segundo’s early success in games. In the U.S. championship game, Brody was 3 for 3, including a home run. The entire team—Louis, Brody, Lennon Salazar, Finley Green, Quinn Boehle, Lucas Keldorf, Colby Lee, Max Baker, Declan McRoberts, Ollie Parks, Crew O’Connor and Jaxon Kalish—led the team to a thrilling victory.
After “Gundo’s” win, California can now boast eight world titles and 16 U.S. titles. Torrance is the only other team from the South Bay to make it to round four of the Little League World Series. Since the win, the team has enjoyed two parades in El Segundo and a VIP visit to Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels games. They were awarded keys to the city of El Segundo.
Danny Boehle, father of player Quinn and former owner of Fonz’s Restaurant in Manhattan Beach, coached the team for the last three years. He came from a big sports family, and this experience was not lost on him. He grew up dreaming of an opportunity like making it to the World Series.
“It means the world to me to have done this with my son,” he shares. “Family is everything in life. Sharing these moments together is priceless.”
Traveling in support of their boys, the families paid their way from game to game. El Segundo rallied to help the parents along the way by hosting viewing parties to packed houses. Rock & Brews donated $10,000—10% of the sales from its viewing parties. Chevron picked up the tab for the parents to have a nice dinner out while in Williamsport. Local real estate agent Bill Ruane donated $500 when the team started their playoff run and was one of two Jumbotron sponsors for an outdoor watch party that hosted hundreds at Brett Field to watch the final game.
Mike Zislis, cofounder of Rock & Brews on Main Street in El Segundo, explains that a congratulatory banner was created to be hung outside the restaurant. The goal was to unveil it after Saturday’s U.S. championship game, but Mike and his team were told it couldn’t be displayed until after the international game on Sunday. The town’s excitement wore down the official, who ultimately gave Rock & Brews permission to unveil the banner early.
Now that the boys have tasted success, we can only wait and see what the future holds for them. If they don’t yet understand the magnitude of what they just accomplished, a dose of reality will likely set in as they head back to class.