Editor’s note: Sunnyside Little League first baseman/pitcher Izaiah Moraga, with support from his parents Karla and Ernest, has agreed to write a journal about his experience as he and his teammates (ages 11 and 12) participate in the West Regional tournament at San Bernardino, Calif., and perhaps beyond at the Little League World Series at Williamsport, Pa. Izaiah hit a game-tying home run in the sixth inning last night against Northern California and roommate and classmate (at Gallego Intermediate) Michel Muniz had the walkoff RBI double later in the inning for Sunnyside. The West Regional final between Sunnyside and Hawaii is at 6 tonight on ESPN.
Yesterday was one of the craziest games ever for us especially since we walked the game off. The day started with everybody waking up around 7:30 a.m. taking showers and brushing our teeth. We ate our breakfast and after that we started cleaning some of our messes. After that, we went to go hit at an indoor batting cage (Legends Athletics Performance) for about an hour. We met the owner and he was glad to have us there. After that, we ate lunch and rested for a good hour and 30 minutes. When we all woke up, we went to hit for a good 30 minutes and got ready and did our usual, such as praying and getting pumped up.
Once we got on the field, some of us felt the pressure after the first pitch was thrown by Juan Hernandez. They hit 2 singles up the middle and scored 2 runs in the 1st inning and we scored 1 run in the 2nd inning and the score remained 2-1 till the 6th inning. Thanks to Francisco he scored Michel Muniz in the second inning.
But the game wasn’t over yet. We needed 2 runs to win the game. And then it happened, I hit a solo shot to tie the game up. It felt great to be able to help my team. I was overwhelmed with emotions as I made it around the diamond and saw my team waiting for me at home plate. Then Francisco Rivero hit a single and we had the best pinch-hitter come up next, Michel Muniz. We had 2 outs and 1-2 count and he hit a double. It was a shot to the warning track and Francisco scored all the way from 1st and he walked it off. Michel was overwhelmed with emotions too. Our coach picked him up and carried him off the field as we all celebrated. When I saw my dad (he is a coach on the team), he gave me a very big hug and he told me he loved me and he was very proud of me while we were on the field.
Michel may be small but has a big heart inside and that is something they can never take away from him, us or Sunnyside.
After the game, we went back to our barracks to leave our bags. We were able to go back out to say hi to our parents and celebrate with them. My mom ran up to me and gave me a big hug and told me she was really proud of me and the entire team. We all took pictures with everyone and then we all went to eat at Subway. Then when we came back to the barracks.
Michel Muniz sat right besides me and said, “We never gave up and kept our hearts and soul in the game.” He said this when we were talking in the room last night after we thanked God for letting us not give up and for giving us what we needed to win that game. We were all excited still from the game that we couldn’t fall asleep.
Today, we woke up and ate breakfast, but after that, we were cleaning our mess from last night. Then, we went to the same batting cages as yesterday and hit for a solid 2 hours. We came back to the complex and ate lunch as a team. We are now just waiting for game time. We are relaxing and trying to stay focus. We will have a short batting practice around 4:30 p.m. and then come back to the room and start getting ready for a game that we have all worked really hard for and have dreamed about.
We are all a little nervous, but if we can keep our bats alive and and defense solid, we can do this. Everyone back at home has been very supportive and we couldn’t have made it here without our parents. They have sacrificed so much to make sure we have everything we need and to be able to give us this once-in-a-lifetime chance to make our dreams come true. I love you mom and dad. Let’s do this SUNNYSIDE…