When a local Little League team plays before a national audience, people tend to pay attention.
When a band of kids living on the Peninsula coast who hope to follow in the footsteps of the Petaluma National All-Stars see the North Bay squad reach the national championship semifinals, they go nuts.
Such is the case for the Pacifica American 9-and 10-year-old Little Leaguers, an elite Northern California squad that earlier this summer came within one win of capturing a state regional championship.
And so for Pacifica American, which will be eligible to play qualify for the annual Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., watching Petaluma play in the semifinals (Petaluma was scheduled to play Texas tonight on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com at 5 p.m. ) is that much more interesting.
"That's all the kids are talking about," Pacifica American manager Steve Falk said.
"They're already talking about two years from now, that it's something they possibly could do,"
After the kind of year Pacifica had, it's hard blame them for believing almost anything is possible.
Pacifica won its first and came of a Northern California District 3 championship. Pacifica to Woodcreek (Roseville) in the finals.
Pacifica's players see a little bit of themselves in the slugging Petaluma team. Pacifica hit 20 homers in a 12-game stretch on their way to the District 3 finals.
"(Petaluma) hits, they hit really well and that was one of the strong points of our team this year," Falk said. "Hopefully they can keep doing what they're doing. That's what we're striving for."
The Pacifica team is still doing it, with the nucleus of the Little League team playing for travel ball for the Pacifica Chaos, which just last weekend won a tournament in Sunnyvale at Twin Creeks Sports Complex.
"They're still winning," Falk said.
And to hear Falk tell it, it isn't just the kids who are excited about the program's future.
"I can't wait until these kids are 12," he said. "For how good they are and now and how hard they work now, if they just keep doing that there's no telling how good they can be."