Above: Bishop Amat’s Daniel Zamora is one of 18 players from the San Gabriel Valley who will compete in the upcoming Senior Babe Ruth baseball World Series in Ephrata, Washington.
Nick Wagner, formerly of Glendora High School, and Bishop Amat’s Daniel Zamora have experienced winning a CIF-Southern Section baseball title each of the past two seasons.
Now the duo, along with 16 of their friends, are looking for a bigger thrill — a national championship.
Wagner, who won a Division 2 title with Glendora in 2010, and Zamora, who scored the Division 4 championship with Bishop Amat in June, lead a group of 18 players from the San Gabriel Valley who will compete in the Senior Babe Ruth World Series in Ephrata, Washington, which is three hours east of Seattle.
The eight-team tournament begins Saturday with pool play. The top six teams then advance to bracket play, which begins next Thursday. The championship game is scheduled for Aug. 13.
San Gabriel Valley, which swept through the Pacific Southwest Regional, opens the tournament against Syracuse, N.Y. at 11 a.m. on Saturday. SGV concludes pool play against host Ephrata at 8 p.m. on Sunday and vs. Ottumwa, Iowa at 5 p.m. on Monday.
“It’s going to be real fun,” said Wagner, who was MVP of the Pacific Southwest Regional. “We’re just a bunch of guys who are hanging out, doing something we love to do.
“The San Gabriel Valley has a tradition of going (to the World Series) and doing well. We would like to continue that.”
SGV advanced to the World Series following a 5-4 victory over Watsonville in the regional championship game two weeks ago. Wagner had the game-winning RBI in the sixth inning, with Crescenta Valley’s Troy Mulcahey getting the save. Glendora’s Brennen Salgado also had a home run in the championship game.
Zamora had a solid outing in a victory over Modesto earlier in the regional tournament.
The SGV roster also features Glendora’s Nick Cooksey and Martin Gallegos; Arcadia’s KJ Edson, Erik Trask and Jonathan Larson; St. Francis’ Mark Saatzer; Bishop Amat’s Andrew Medina and Alhambra’s Gary Acuna.
“We’ve only been together five games,” said SGV coach Phil Torres, of Crescenta Valley. “But the kids have done a nice job. We’re fortunate to have these kids who are very well-coached from their high school coaches.
“We have 18 kids who are from Southern California and have seen everything from Glendora to Arcadia to Bishop Amat. I like this group and we’ll take our chances. We’re very excited to play the best teams in the country.”
The tournament also includes Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Noblesville, Ind.; Mobile, Ala.; Eagle Pass, Texas; Portland, Ore. and Puget Sound, Wash.