The United States had six districts playing: Central, East, CA District 57, Southeast, Southwest and West. District 57 was represented by Pleasanton National Little League, which went 2-2.
"Our biggest accomplishment was we were able to knock off the West team (Nogales, Ariz.), which showed we were the Best in the West," said Manager Dave Landers.
Pleasanton, coached by Dale Wolfe and Bob Kaufmann, played its first game July 20, and beat Central (Georgetown Little League of Jenison, Mich.), 12-0, with Evan Wolfe pitching a perfect game. The next day, Pleasanton beat West, 6-3.
The following day, Aug. 2, Pleasanton faced Southwest (Post Oak Little League of Houston), which prevailed, 6-5. Pleasanton next faced East (Chartiers Valley Little League of Collier Township, Penn.) on Saturday, and East won, 3-1.
When East beat Southwest, 5-4, on Sunday, it secured its spot in the championship game Monday against Izumisano.
The international pool included Canada, Latin America, Puerto Rico and Asia-Pacific.
The American teams stayed at the Marriott, including the Pleasanton players so they would have the full World Series experience; the international teams were at the Hilton.
"It was a great experience, it was awesome for the boys," Landers said. "They met a lot of friends, exchanged numbers and emails, signed baseballs. The Japanese kids, even though they didn't speak a lot of English, were always trying to communicate with our kids, they were always joking around."
The Pleasanton team members all have baseballs signed by the Osaka team in Japanese.
Organizers were expecting about 10,000 spectators for the games but the tournament ended up drawing more than 30,000, Landers said.
The Pleasanton team drew large crowds and was pleased to make it to the semifinals.
"Whenever we played, we had 3,500-4,000 per game," Landers said. "It was really exciting for the kids -- we were one game away from the U.S. Championship."
"The whole tournament was a big success," he added. "It exceeded all of our expectations."
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