LA VERNE, Calif. - The ladies of La Verne are putting the community on the map after extending their magical tournament run in the Little League Softball World Series.
The La Verne Little Leaguers staved off elimination Thursday after beating a team from Issaquah, Washington in the double-elimination bracket. The team is anticipating their game against North Carolina Friday morning, speaking with Fox 11 via Zoom Thursday.
"Our team just has a really good chemistry, so we're really excited to be here and rep our city [of La Verne]," said Ryan Torres, a shortstop for the team.
It's a historic season for the team.
"It's very crazy because I never thought I'd be able to have this experience. We started this journey three years ago and didn't make it past states and last year, we didn't make it past regionals and now this year, we're at the world series so it's very exciting," said Laila Washington, who plays second base.
Sofia Ayabarreno, a catcher and outfielder, said she is proud to be part of the team.
"I've never really had this experience at all, so I think it means a lot to me because I just think everyone watching us, lending us support, it's amazing, and we're out here playing the game we love," she said.
Ava Fisher, who plays third base, is hoping for a win Friday.
"We play North Carolina again tomorrow [Friday] so I hope we beat them again and continue getting the dub," she said.
Their coach, Mike Mann, is proud either way.
"Coach K, Coach Loretta and myself are very proud of this team. Just to get here is an accomplishment. We won our first game beating North Carolina to open the World Series. We had a tough loss last night to a really good Virginia team. That kind of game is easy to get down. It's easy to get frustrated and come back to the field and not play well, and we started off slow today in our bounce-back game, but our girls dug deep. They really wanted to win. You could tell in the later innings, they weren't gonna allow themselves to lose the game because of what was in their control, and they had a really big rally in the sixth inning which led to our victory," said Mann.
Mann said he wants to make sure the girls are having fun.
"For us, it's one game at a time. Our goal was to get to the World Series, and anything after that is icing on the cake. Of course, we play to win, but the most important thing is that they have a fun experience and if winning is a part of that, fantastic," said Mann.
La Verne locals are cheering on the girls from their hometown.
"It is so exciting to see these girls. We are parents of older kids, but they did go through little league and softball, and we are extremely excited for these kids. It's huge for the city of La Verne. We're a small town, a tight-knit community and we support practically every sport, if not all sports in town," said Michelle.
"Nobody expects this from a small city so you're kinda happy seeing your own team make it that far, so it's cool. I'm looking forward to seeing them tomorrow [Friday]," said Kevin.
The Holmes family is also excited about the team's success.
"One of the girls that's playing on the team, her grandmother is a girl I went to high school with and are friends with, so we're really rooting for them," said Kelli Holmes.
"Seeing young girls follow their dreams at a young age and get to accomplish something so big is so awesome," said Charley Holmes.
"This is something that is pretty big for them and everybody should rejoice and be proud of them because it's quite a feat," said Mike Holmes.
Anthony Griego, the manager of Lordsburg Taphouse & Grill said their restaurant is the official watch party location, and photos of the girls canvass the windows.
"It's great to be a part of it. I don't have any family members who are part of the team, but it feels special to me so in order for these girls to go through this and experience this, more power to them. It's phenomenal," said Griego.