"There's going to be a lot of Division I players in the tournament. It's a fun challenge."
While San Gabriel Valley didn't appear in the World Series last season, it made its way back with some top-flight pitching in the Pacific Southwest Regional Tournament in Modesto. San Gabriel Valley, featuring eight local players and seeking its first World Series title since 2007 and eighth overall, wrapped up a World Series berth with a 5-4 victory against Watsonville on July 26 at Modesto Christian High.
In four games in the regional, San Gabriel Valley yielded five runs and scored 14. The pitching staff includes Kyle Murray and Elliott Surrey of Crescenta Valley High, along with Daniel Zamora and Gary Acuna. The closer is KJ Edson, who picked up a pair of wins at the regional.
San Gabriel Valley lost starting pitcher Adam McCreery, who Torres said opted to focus on his commitment to Arizona State.
San Gabriel Valley outfielder Mark Saatzer, a St. Francis High graduate now at Chapman University, said the previous tournament provided San Gabriel Valley with plenty of preparation leading up to the World Series.
"We played some good teams," said Saatzer, a former All-Area pick who will make his first World Series appearance. "Our pitching was great and so was our fielding.
"We know we'll be facing even tougher teams. We don't want to change anything. We just have to go out there and play our game."
The other local players, all from Crescenta Valley High, are Troy Mulcahey, Troy Prasertsit, Ted Boeke, Cameron Silva and Joe Torres.
Mulcahey, the reigning All-Area Baseball Player of the Year, is participate in his second World Series.
The outfielder/pitcher said San Gabriel Valley has come together since the team was formed three weeks ago.
"We are more like a family now," said Mulcahey, who preserved San Gabriel Valley's 5-4 victory against Watsonville in the championship game with a save. "We only had a couple of practices before our last tournament.
"Pitching will be the key for us. We have to shut the other team down. It would be a great achievement to win the World Series."
Joining San Gabriel Valley in the American Division are Southeast, Midwest Plains and Ephrata. The National Division will feature New England, Ohio Valley, Southwest, Pacific Northwest and Northern Washington State.
San Gabriel Valley will also participate in pool-play games against Ephrata at 8 p.m. Sunday, Midwest Plains at 5 p.m. Monday and Southeast at 2 p.m. Tuesday. The quarterfinal games will take place Thursday with the semifinals contests set for Friday. The championship game takes place at 1 p.m. Aug. 13.