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Encinitas Team To Make Run At Little League World Series

The Encinitas Little League All-Stars.
The Encinitas Little League All-Stars.

The latest group of preteen baseball players from the San Diego area to make a run at the Little League World Series will begin pool play Saturday in the West Regional tournament in San Bernardino.

The Encinitas Little League All-Stars won the Southern California championship last Sunday by defeating a team from Long Beach 9-3, in a game played in El Cajon.

Encinitas will take on the Honolulu Little League Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Al Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino. Other teams in the West bracket are from Chandler, Ariz., Las Vegas, St. George, Utah, and Pacifica, which is just south of San Francisco.

The players traveled to San Bernardino on Thursday, following a sendoff that included former Padres' pitchers Trevor Hoffman and Randy Jones, along with the Swinging Friar mascot.

Victory in the tournament, which runs through Aug. 9, would make Encinitas the fifth San Diego team to go to the Little League World Series in the last 15 years.

"We're not focused on getting to a certain spot, we're focused on how we're performing, controlling things that are under our own control, behaving with sportsmanship, being good competitors," coach Chaz Gagne told NBC7/39. "If we move on, that's great, but enjoying the tourney as we go."

The Park View Little League team from Chula Vista won the 2009 world championship in Williamsport, Pa. Another Chula Vista squad, from Eastlake, won the U.S. title last year before falling to Tokyo in the international championship game.

Teams from Oceanside and Vista previously competed in Williamsport.