The Olympian High School baseball team made history by capturing the school’s first San Diego Section championship in any sport when the Eagles, seeded second in the Division IV bracket, defeated the fourth-seeded Mar Vista Mariners, 5-4, in a climactic championship game encounter June 7 at the University of San Diego.
The game was history-making in more ways than one: Two of Olympian’s players were former members of Park View Little League’s fabled Blue Bombers 2009 Little League World Series championship team.
Yes, those Blue Bombers.
Five years later, Daniel (Junior) Porras and Bradley Roberto were celebrating a big game victory with their high school teammates.
“It’s just feels great to make history,” Roberto said. “I’m ending my high school career with a championship. It doesn’t get any better than that!”
“It’s just as exciting, it was a big game,” the former LLWS champion noted. “The difference this time is that I was pitching and the catcher ran to me (to celebrate after the final out). When we won the Little League World Series, I was the catcher and I ran out to Kiko Garcia (to congratulate him).”
While grimaces usually appear on the faces of former Park View team members when mention is made of the 2009 LLWS championship, there was definitely none of that in the CIF championship game.
The Roberto family proudly waved a cardboard cut-out of Bradley from the team’s LLWS championship run. After the game, Bradley even had fun posing with the hallowed piece of memorabilia.
“We always have fun with it,” Roberto said. “It’s something I’ll never forget, hearing that PVLL chant. During the (CIF championship) game, the guys would give me and Junior the PVLL chant every time one of us was batting.”
Roberto finished the Division IV championship game with one RBI while Porras pitched the final three innings to close out the history-making win. Both players have excelled at the high school level. The next level now beckons.
Roberto will continue his baseball career at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire. He said playing at the Little League level and playing at more competitive levels is like night and day.
“There’s more stress involved (after Little League) because you never know when your career will end,” he said. “A lot of people, after high school, never play baseball again.”
Roberto said he is looking forward to playing at the collegiate level. “I’m excited — it will definitely be different from high school, but I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
As for the Eagles’ championship trophy, it will be proudly displayed at the school. In fact, Olympian High School Principal Elaine Leano had the honor of spiriting it away after the championship game.
“I’m so proud of the team,” she said. “This will help inspire all our athletic programs on campus.”