The Holtville Vikings Majors Little League baseball club has steamrolled into tonight’s California District 22 Little League championship game with an overall record of 21-0.
“It’s pretty exciting for the town,” said head coach Sam Hilfiker, “because we don’t have as many kids as most cities to choose from. It just doesn’t happen very often.”
Hilfiker’s oldest son Seth, 11, has six home runs on the year, while teammate Michael Toten has five, two of which came in one game against Calipatria.
“It’s been a great year, obviously,” stated Hilfiker, who has another son, 9-year-old Spencer, on the team. “We had a few close games here and there but we’re doing okay so far.”
They will face the winner of the Sunbeam-Brawley game, which was decided Thursday night but ran past deadline. The contest will take place at Mack Park in Holtville at 7 p.m.
“We actually played Brawley on Tuesday night,” said Hilfiker, “and they were so far the hardest team, so I imagine if we have to play them, it’s gonna be another tough game for us. When you get in the playoffs, the key to winning is the pitch-count, what kid is available on what day to pitch.”
The Vikings will look to one of two aces to get them through the championship — Dylan Cartee and Octavio Loya.
Hilfiker said that it is difficult to gauge his squad’s mindset going in. “They definitely wanna win. We don’t have a loss on the year, so we really don’t know what it’s like. It’s been a long time since we’ve had this happen in Holtville, but the kids are ready. We’ll see.”
District 22 playoffs are structured in the double-elimination format, which means that even if Holtville loses, they will have a second shot at the same team on Saturday.