A day after Nick Pratto's bases-loaded single clinched the Little League World Series for the Ocean View All-Stars, the team came home.
Complete with a police escort, they arrived Monday night to be greeted by a cheering crowd at a welcome-home celebration held in the parking lot of he league's field at 16666 Tunstall Lane.
A victory parade is scheduled for Sept. 10.
The celebration came just hours after Pratto, the coach's son, stepped to the plate Sunday with the bases loaded, two out and a chance to win the Little League World Series. He said he was thinking about two things: "See it. Drive it."
And, that's what he did. Pratto's single up the middle clinched Ocean View's 2-1 win over the Hamamatsu Minami Little League All-Stars from Hamamatsu City, Japan Sunday in South Williamsport, Pa.
"I was ahead in the count, and I was just looking for a good pitch to hit to drive and I got it,'' said Pratto, who had three of Ocean View's six hits. "When I was walking up, I was thinking, 'Oh God, oh God.'
"But once I got in the box, I just started to calm down, get my head straight and see the ball. I just thought, 'See it. Drive it.'"
Ocean View fell behind 1-0 early Sunday, but tied the score in the bottom of the third when Hagen Danner led off with a home run to center field.
"That was vital, to get that right back quickly,'' coach Jeff Pratto said after Ocean View's 23rd victory in its 25 games. "(Coach) Tony (Cianca) even said, 'OK guys, it's a three-inning ballgame. It's 0-0 and we're going to play three innings.' That's where Braydon's efficiency comes in.''
He was referring to 13-year-old pitcher Braydon Salzman. He allowed three hits and struck out nine batters.
"I keep saying -- I've said it for three different games now -- he pitched the greatest game of his life,'' Jeff Pratto said. "He was the right guy for the job today, a pitcher who is very efficient, able to change speeds and hit his spots, which is what you need to beat Japan. He went beyond the call of duty today and locked it down."
Even the mayor of Huntington Beach had to drop everything.
"I put everything else aside," mayor Joe Carchio said. "This is the most important thing for me right now, to make those kids happy because they made us so proud, the kids and their families. This is an extraordinary time for the city of Huntington Beach. This is something that happens once in a lifetime. This is probably the best thing that has happened to us in a hundred years."
It's not the first time Ocean View had to claw its way back into contention. The team lost 1-0 to Montana-Billings Big Sky Wednesday, but earned a spot in the championship game by avenging the loss with an 11-2 win over the same team Saturday.
Ocean View was the seventh Orange County team to play in the Little League World Series and third to reach the championship game.
The Northwood Little League All-Stars from Irvine but lost 21-1 to the all-stars from Hua-Lien, Taiwan for the world championship in 1987. The South Mission Viejo Little League All-Stars lost, 5-4, to the all-stars from Guadalupe, Mexico for the 1997 title.
U.S. teams are 14-32 against their foreign counterparts in the Little League World Series championship game, but have won six of the last seven, including a 6-3 victory in 2009 by the Park View Little League All-Stars of Chula Vista from San Diego over the all-stars from the Kuei-Shan Little League in Taoyuan, Taiwan.