Storm headed to National Youth Baseball Championships

By: Nick Pecoraro Telegraph Correspondent
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After going 5-1 in the PONY World Series, the Sierra Valley Storm little league baseball squad will represent Northern California in the National Youth Baseball Championship in Memphis, Tenn. Half of the 12-and-under team is comprised of kids and coaches from El Dorado Hills. The Storm is 17-1 heading into the championship tournament, having lost its only game in the PONY World Series championship game in Monterey to the Chinese Taipei all-stars. “We have an incredible group of kids,” says Storm coach Ryan Rodriguez. “A lot of them have grown up playing together and it really makes it easier to coach these guys.” The top 12-and-under teams representing different little league organizations from all over the country will be looking to calm the Storm. The team arrives in Memphis on Aug. 23 just before pool play begins the following day. Entering this tournament, the Storm had been defeating opponents by an average of more than 16 runs a game with a combination of powerful slugging and heady base-running. Rodriguez knows that the boys won’t have as much of a cakewalk in Memphis, however. “We’ve played a couple teams that’ll be there. It’ll be a tall order. There are some teams that have players from multiple states. Phenoms. It’s almost like we’re playing teams that have CEOs,” joked Rodriguez. “It’s going to be a challenge but if we play like we know how, we can make some noise.” “We’re pretty excited. We know a lot of the teams that we’ll be playing against and we think we can compete with them,” said pitcher/second baseman Patrick Smith, who rewrote the PONY World Series record books by hitting .875 in his last tournament.