Carson coach Dan Leck can only hope that history comes close to repeating itself at this week's Pacific Southwest Regional 13-15-year-old Babe Ruth Championships.
Leck has been to several regional events, including with his oldest son, Austin. During that stretch, Carson had a group of players that won state titles as 13, 14 and 15 year olds. That group struggled as 13 and 14 year olds at the regional event, but as 15 year olds advanced to the regional championship round.
Once again with another one of his sons, Cameron, coach Leck has coached many of this group of players to three straight state titles as 13, 14 and 15 year olds. This group has struggled at the regional event as 13 and 14 year olds, but coach Leck said he hopes this team can also make a run for a regional title in the 15-year-old event.
"This team actually has the potential to do that," coach Leck said. "But once you're there, things have to go right. I'm pretty optimistic that these young men will go to El Segundo and play well."
Carson begins play in the regional event at 4 p.m. Friday against Westside, Utah in El Segundo, Calif. The regional champion will advance to the Babe Ruth World Series.
Carson played an exhibition game on Tuesday in Ridgecrest, Calif. in preparation for the event.
"After the last few years of going through this, kids need to play as much as possible," coach Leck said.
After last week's experience in the state tournament, coach Leck said his team shouldn't be intimidated by the regional event. Carson came back to beat Fallon 15-3 and 10-6 after losing to Fallon 5-3 to win the state title.
"I think our loss in the state tournament was probably the eye-opening experience for these kids," coach Leck said.
Despite the back and forth nature of the third meeting between Carson and Fallon, coach Leck said he was never concerned. Fallon went up 3-0, Carson came back to take a 5-3 lead, then Fallon came back to go ahead 6-5 before Carson rallied for a 10-6 win.
"I didn't think that I had any fear we were going to lose that game," coach Leck said. "I always felt the kids were focused enough that they would come back and they did."
It has been the nature of Carson over the last three years to do whatever it takes to win.
"The resiliency of these kids is actually reflected in that statement," coach Leck said.
In the past two years, Carson won primarily with pitching and defense. But this year, Carson scored 10 or more runs in four of its wins at the state tournament.
"What surprised me is that we gave up as many runs as we did," coach Dan Leck said.
Carson showed it was a strong all-around team, with solid pitching and hitting throughout the state tournament.
Coach Leck said that Scott DeFriez will start against Westside and that Jake Rasner will start Carson's second game. If Carson moves on and is in the winner's bracket, DeFriez could conceivably come back and start the third game.
If Carson is in the loser's bracket, Mike Handley would like start the third game, coach Leck said.
Coach Leck said the experience his team had at the state tournament may give it an advantage over other teams in the regional event who have yet to play a close game.
Another strength of Carson is the versatility of its players. "At this level, there's no such thing as a specialist," coach Leck said. "They play multiple positions."
Carson's roster consists of: Brian Upton, Bubba Shoaf, Cameron Leck, Danny Rotter, David Nelsen, Eric Melendez, Jake Rasner, Jared Wulff, Jeff Hurzel, Jessie Rasner, Markez Dominguiz, Mike Handley, Ricky Adams, DeFriez, Steven Lubich.