Northeast team wins city Little League title
Little League coaches don't do what they do for a lucrative contract or national prominence.
They volunteer their time to help kids learn how to play the game of baseball and help their players improve throughout the season.
But, on Saturday gratification came for the coaches of the P&H Goodyear team from the Northeast League and the V.F.W. Southeast Majors when the teams met for the Victoria City Championship.
"I go to work, I've got a family to support, but I'm out here for all these kids too," said P&H head coach Leslie Gonzales.
Hudson Oliver held V.F.W. to one hit and six different P&H batters had a hit to help P&H win the city championship 15-0 at the Victoria Youth Sports Complex.
"At the end of the day, the winner is the one with the highest score, But for me, it's the guy that couldn't hit when he started and he's hitting now; that couldn't catch when he started, but he's catching now." said V.F.W. head coach Jonathon Lopez.
"Win or lose, as long as they learn something, that's what it's all about."
The game ended after the fifth inning because of the mercy rule.
Oliver struck out nine batters and had a perfect game going into the bottom of the fifth. Ryan Espinoza broke up the perfect game with a single to right to lead off the top of the inning.
"He's been a beast all year," Gonzales said. "He's carried this team. There's no I in team, but he's been my ace."
The city championships are held every year and pit teams from the four leagues in a two-day tournament.
Victoria is one of thousands of cities across the country with Little League programs. Like in other cities, Victoria area coaches volunteer their time, skills and knowledge to help young players learn the fundamentals of the game.
This often means juggling family and work obligations with coaching a team. Winning a championship is a way of having a trophy to show off for their hard work.
"It's really gratifying," said P&H assistant coach Donald Salais. "All these kids contributed (to) this great team that we have here and we're glad we won the city championship."
"It's makes me a little teary," added P&H assistant Melvin Rael. "The first day, it looked like it was going to be a little rough, but the kids responded."
Little League baseball doesn't just teach an aspiring major leaguer how to turn a double play or lay down a bunt, it can teach things like teamwork that kids can take into life outside of baseball.
V.F.W. Manager Richard Mendoza said the coaching staff focused on teaching the kids leadership and sportsmanship in addition to the game of baseball.
"You've got a lot of tough kids out there where this is probably their first time learning about that," Mendoza said.
Kaleb Real put P&H up to stay early when he hit a two-run homer to left center field. He finished with five RBIs.
Real, Kane Mendietta, Oliver, Avery Bruns and Garrett Gregory all had multi-hit games.
Victoria Little League City Championship
P&H Goodyear 15, V.F.W. Southeast Majors 0
P&H 202 0(11) - 15 12
V.F.W. 000 00 - 0 1
Highlights: (P&H) Hudson Oliver, 5 IP, 1 H, 9 K, 3 for 3, 3 RBIs, 2 RS; Kane Mendietta, 2 for 2, 3 RS; Kaleb Real, 2 for 2, 5 RBI, 2 RS; Avery Bruns, 2 for 3, 2 RBIs, 2 RS; Garrett Gregory, 2 for 3, 3 RBIs, 2 RS; (V.F.W.) Jacob Martinez, 4 IP, 3 ER, 7 K.