They did it for their coaches. They did it for their families. They did it for each other. And it was clear on a bright Sunday afternoon that the “Boys of Summer” did it for their communities of Belmont and Redwood Shores.
In a celebration befitting a championship team, the Belmont Redwood Shores 11/12 Year-Old All-Stars and their coaches received some well-earned applause, praise and even a few proclamations on the Marina Field at the Belmont Sports Complex Sunday.
Click on the video and photo slideshow above for highlight's from Sunday's BRSLL Celebration.
Players and coaches arrived Giants-style---in convertible Mercedes-Benzes donated by neighboring Belmont business Autobahn Motors. As they made their way around the infield, each player and coach’s name was announced to cheers and to the familiar Journey anthem “Don’t Stop Believing.”
The team of 13 made history this summer, starting at the Marina field in July where they won the District 52 championship, then tore their way through the competition in sectional and regional tournaments, being crowned Northern California champs and heading to San Bernadino for the Western Regional championships.
With just one win separating them from a trip to the Little League World Series, the team lost in the Western Regional final Aug. 10 to Chula Vista. Chula Vista went on to lose to Japan in the final game of the LLWS.
Belmont Redwood Shores Little League president Ken Knobel kicked off the festivities after introducing players and coaches and thanking the cities of Belmont and Redwood City, public safety officials, and members of the sporting community for their support.
Redwood City vice mayor Jeff Gee and Belmont vice mayor Warren Lieberman were introduced by Knobel and each received framed photos of the team. Lieberman addressed the crowd, that it was more than just athletic ability that carried the team to the Western Regional championship game.
"As they went through their 19-2 run, it was pretty remarkable to know a community our size can produce a set of athletes that are not just the athletes, but as you know in order to succeed in sports you need to have the mentality and the physical ability to pull it off.
When these boys started first started the tournament, they represented Belmont and Redwood Shores, and as they went deeper and deeper into the tournament they represented all of the Peninsula and really all of Northern California," said Lieberman.
Coaches Rudy Lopez and Peter Anderson also spoke expressing pride in their team and appreciation for the communities of Belmont and Redwood Shores that cheered on the team during their historic season.
"We not just 13 strong, but an entire community," Anderson told the crowd.
Player Daniel Friis addressed the fans, the Little League board and the coaches on behalf of the team.
"Our biggest thanks would be to our coaches. Coach Rudy Lopez always said to us we will outwork our opponents. A model I will use for the rest of my life."
During the ceremony, Knobel announced that the BRSLL board of directors officially retired the jerseys worn by the players.
All-star team jerseys are returned for the next generation of players to carry on the tradition, explained Knobel.
"Because this is such a special occasion, the board of directors decided all of the boys numbers would be retired. So in Belmont Redwood Shores Little League History, there will not be a #22 any more because that belongs to Ryan Anderson.”
Each player was called up and given a jersey embroidered with their name and now-retired number.
After the ceremony, the players lined up to sign autographs. From pre-schoolers to grandparents, fans eagerly lined up to have balls and t-shirts signed to have their small piece of the amazing season of the "Boys of Summer."
BRSLL 11/12 Year-Old All-Star Championship Team:
Manager: Rudy Lopez (Redwood Shores)
Coaches: Kevin Lee (Belmont) & Peter Anderson (Redwood Shores)
Nicolas Lopez--Redwood Shores
Noah Marcelo--Redwood Shores
Luke Bugbee--Redwood Shores
Taylor Douglis--Redwood Shores
Zach Wong--Redwood Shores
Jake Stulbarg--Redwood Shores
Ryan Anderson--Redwood Shores
Josh Fong--Redwood Shores