How El Segundo is gearing up for Little League World Series opener

El Segundo is gearing up to make its debut in the Little League World Series on Thursday against a team from Ohio in Williamsport, Pa., at 4 p.m. on ESPN.

The team had to rise at 4 a.m. on Saturday for a bus ride to Ontario Airport, then a flight back East. Several players got a stomach virus in Williamsport, but coach Danny Boehle said they’re doing better. It was raining Tuesday, so he was waiting to watch practice in order to determine which one of his five pitchers might get the call to start.

El Segundo is considered one of the favorites among the 10 teams from the United States. There are also 10 international teams.

One strength for El Segundo is the poise players have been showing and it’s no surprise. Boehle’s players do not engage in celebrations after home runs or big plays or dye hair. He’s old school.

“We don’t do showboating,” he said. “They’re not allowed to. Once the mission is accomplished, yes.”

Boehle is friends with former USC and NFL quarterback Matt Cassel, who played in the 1994 Little League World Series with Northridge. He said Cassel has offered advice.

“He said the key to winning is making sure the kids are having fun,” Boehle said.

They’re having fun with the ping-pong games happening in the dorms, though one team is very good.

“Japan beats everybody,” he said.