Written in the Stars
For the second time in Little League history, Langley is going to Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League Baseball World Series.
This comes after winning the Canadian Little League Championship, 11-0 against Valleyfield, Que., in the final held in North Vancouver on Saturday.
Not since 1998 has the Langley team of 11- and-12-year-olds represented Canada in the series, and they are ecstatic.
“It’s a fantastic feeling,” said Langley All-Stars manager Dean Cantelon.
“We took in the win on Saturday and enjoyed every minute of it.”
Celebrations took place on the field as the boys proudly hoisted the large silver cup for cheering family, friends and fans in the packed stands at Chris Zuehlke Memorial Park.
But it was quickly back to work from there.
“When it comes to game time, they are focused,” Cantelon said.
The All-Stars caught an early flight to Williamsport Sunday morning to start preparing for their first game on Friday (Aug. 19) against Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
“Everything has been fast paced,” Cantelon said.
“As soon as we left the playing field, the boys went home, celebrated with their families and packed, getting ready to catch a plane.”
In the final on Saturday, Langley scored four runs in the first inning, and seven more in the second, to establish their comfortable lead.
Fi Fan Pan was pitcher for the entire game, allowing only two hits, while his twin brother Yi An Pan played shortstop.
Cole Cantelon, Dean Cantelon’s son, also played well, hitting a home run in the second inning.
Little League has a 10-run mercy rule, but the game needed a minimum of four innings.
Langley advanced to the final game after winning 2-1 over host Mount Seymour in the semi-final on Friday.
Cantelon says it was a tough game on Friday, but coming out of it the boys were prepared for the finals.
“Going into the game on Saturday we felt quite confident,” he said.
“We felt comfortable with our situation. When the boys showed up Saturday morning we knew they were focused and were going to come out strong. And the score supports that.”
This is the seventh year in a row that a team from B.C. has won the Canadian Championship, but only once has a Canadian team ever come close to winning the Little League Baseball World Series.
That was in 1965, when Stoney Creek from Ontario lost 3-1 to Windsor Locks, Connecticut in the final.
Cantelon feels confident that the Langley All-Stars are a strong team representing Canada.
“These boys from one to 11 are very skilled baseball players. We don’t have any weak players on this team,” he said.
“And when one player does not produce, the other player steps up. We’ve relied on that the whole season. It hasn’t been one or two players that all the time get us that win. Different players step up during different games.
The Little League Baseball World Series championship game is on Aug. 28.