It’s another day in the spotlight Tuesday for the Little League World Series champions from El Segundo, as the squad spent returned to its home field to give interviews with nationwide media, and it is set to be honored on the field Tuesday evening at Dodger Stadium.
The team returned to the Southland Monday and was treated to a hero’s welcome, with hundreds of people lining Main Street in El Segundo to greet the squad as it was carried in a caravan along the city’s main route. It was a preview of the official championship parade, which will be held on the same street on Sept. 10.
But the team will spend Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
“It’s gonna be pretty cool,” catcher Lucas Keldorf told KNX News Tuesday morning about the trip to Elysian Park. “I wanna meet all the players.”
Manager Danny Boehle told the station the team is looking forward to the Dodger Stadium honor.
“When you do something like this in this city, and all the sports teams that we have and all the legendary winning sports teams through the Dodgers, the Lakers, the Kings, Rams, Chargers — it just makes sense to honor teams that win,” he told KNX. “Winners win. So that’s what we do.”
The El Segundo team arrived at Los Angeles International Airport around 2:30 p.m. Monday, and were immediately met by reporters and television cameras. After gathering their things, the team made the short drive to El Segundo for the boisterous crawl down Main Street.
“We’ve been on the road for a long time, and these boys are itching to come home and celebrate with their family here,” Boehle told reporters at the airport. “And we just couldn’t be more happy with the outcome and the way these guys respected the city of El Segundo, the state of California and the United States of America. It’s been an incredible journey. They finished the mission they started three years ago, and I love them all and I can’t wait to celebrate with our town.”
Boehle got choked up as he talked about the resilience of the team.
“When it sinks in, it’ll get more emotional for me,” he said. “… It’s unbelievable and historic and monumental, and the memories that these kids will have, as well as with their coaches, will last a lifetime.”
El Segundo won the Little League World Series in dramatic fashion Sunday, as Louis Lappe homered leading off the bottom of the sixth and final inning to defeat the all-star team from the Willemstad, Curacao-based Pabao Little League, 6-5, in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
The home run was the first Willemstad allowed in its six World Series games.
El Segundo had to overcome multiple challenges en route to becoming the fourth Los Angeles County team to win the Little League World Series.
Several players were afflicted with a stomach virus when the World Series began Aug. 17. El Segundo had to win three consecutive games in three days to reach the U.S. championship game after being relegated to the elimination bracket of the modified double-elimination tournament with a 3-1 loss to the all-star team from the Needville (Texas) Little League.
El Segundo avenged that loss with a 6-1 victory over Needville in the U.S. championship game Saturday.
El Segundo was 20-2 in five tournaments this summer. Its other loss was to the all-star team from the Sherman Oaks Little League, 4-3, in the opening game of the championship series of the Southern California State Tournament on July 31. It won the rematch, 3-2, later that day.
This is second consecutive year Willemstad lost in the championship game. Five players returned from the team that lost to the all-star team from the Honolulu Little League, 13-3, in the 2022 final, in a game called in the fourth inning because of the run rule.
This was the fifth time a team from Curacao has advanced to the championship game, all from the Pabao Little League. Willemstad won in 2004, but also lost in 2005 and 2019 in addition to 2022 and 2023.
The other Los Angeles County teams to win the Little League World Series were the all-star teams from the Granada Hills National Little League in 1963 and the Long Beach Little League in 1992 and 1993.