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District 22 playoff action heating up

June 18, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

HOLTVILLE — With the greed and attitude that surrounds professional baseball, the purest form of the game may be played on Little League fields.

Enter a pro dugout and the last thing on many players' minds is having a good time. But enter one of the dugouts at the Little League field at Mack Park here at 7:30 tonight and having fun is what will be on the minds of almost all the athletes competing in the 9- to 10-year-old team inter-city championship.

Six teams from around the Imperial Valley: Brawley, Calexico, El Centro, Holtville, Seaview — made up of players from Westmorland and Calipatria — and Sunbeam began the quest for a title in the double-elimination tournament, but only Brawley and Calexico remain.

To get to the tournament each team battled through its own city competition, which started the first weekend of March.

For every team like Brawley, undefeated in the tournament, there is a team like Seaview, knocked out of the competition in its second game. Then there is a squad like Holtville, which kicked off the tournament with a win but lost its next two games and was eliminated Thursday by El Centro.


"There's definitely a lot of talent throughout the Valley. And this tournament is just to see who actually is the best in the Valley," said Holtville manager Mike Angulo, also vice president of Holtville Little League. "Sure, we have kids on this team with talent, but we also have a lot of kids with a lot of heart. And I think the kids with a lot of heart go a long way."

While most of the children involved have a good time, are there overzealous parents who sometimes take away from the experience?

Angulo, who has been coaching Little League and Babe Ruth baseball for 17 years, said he has come across parents who take the games too seriously and have gotten into arguments with other coaches and umpires. What Angulo suggests is parents realize the baseball on the Little League level is just a learning experience, and he promotes fun first and foremost.

Said 10-year-old Preston Claverie, who plays on Holtville's team, "We come out here just to have fun. It's kind of funny when we see parents argue with the umps. They take it serious and we're just having fun."

Added nine-year-old Benji Angulo: "We're going to win some and we're going to lose some. Yeah, you always want to win, but that's not always going to happen. If we lose and we teach these kids how to take losing, it'll just make winning that much better."

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