With pressure building at the Little League World Series, El Segundo will play Texas in the U.S. championship game at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Williamsport, Pa.
Except El Segundo players don’t seem too distracted by the magnitude of the moment, which will be broadcast on ABC.
“These kids don’t know what they embarked on,” manager Danny Boehle said Friday by phone. “They just want to play baseball, watch video games and do TikTok videos. I was walking with them to a practice, ‘Do you know what you did?’ We won a baseball game. They don’t realize what I’m going through, doing 50 interviews. They don’t get this. I love that state of mind. They’re relaxed.”
El Segundo is facing the only team that it has lost to in the tournament. The team from Needville defeated El Segundo 3-1 on Monday, forcing El Segundo to win three consecutive elimination games over three days to make the U.S. final.
El Segundo will have its No. 1 pitcher, Louis Lappe, ready to face Texas ace DJ Jablonski, who limited El Segundo to a Lappe home run on Monday. Lappe didn’t pitch against Texas, possibly giving El Segundo an advantage Saturday.
Lappe and shortstop Brody Brooks have been tough outs throughout the tournament. Brooks has eight hits and two home runs. Lappe has six hits and three home runs.
“They’re the best one-two hitters out here by far,” Boehle said.
Brooks will be available in relief and has shown exceptionable athleticism.
“He’s the fastest kid on the team, moves well left and right and has a strong arm,” Boehle said.
Lappe, who is missing the start of his seventh-grade classes at his middle school in El Segundo, said of the World Series experience: “It’s hard to describe. There’s no other feeling like it. It’s one of the greatest life times and you’re living the dream.”
Every day he and his teammates are playing baseball in Williamsport, they’re extending summer vacation.
“Unfortunately, I will have to go back to school,” Lappe said.
But bringing home a championship would be worth it.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.