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Pasadena American Little League Futures Team Clinches District 17 Championship in Undefeated Run

Young athletes showcase skill and teamwork in prestigious Little League tournament

Published on Friday, July 5, 2024 | 6:51 am

In a display of skill and determination, the Pasadena American Little League (PALL) Futures team secured the District 17 championship title on Tuesday, July 2. The team had remained undefeated throughout the tournament, culminating in a victory over Santa Anita Little League.

The championship game, held at Donley Field in East Altadena, marked the end of a 7-10 day post-season event. The prestigious tournament brought together top 8- and 9-year-old players from seven local leagues, including East Altadena, Central Altadena, Pasadena Southwest, San Marino, Pasadena, Sierra Madre, and Santa Anita.

9U All-Star Team Manager Jerry Change — who is also a parent of team player Bradley — said he was proud of the youngsters.

“They’re trained extremely hard to be prepared for this tournament and all of their preparation really paid off by winning the championship,” Chang said.

Chang explained the significance of the team’s first game during the week’s tournament.

“Getting the first game out of the way, I think that was the biggest moment for us,” he explained. “After that first win, the players became much more comfortable with the level of play expected at all stars.”

The victory was particularly meaningful for many team members, as it was their first all-star tournament experience. Nine-year-old player Bradley Chang described the win as “probably one of the best moments of my life.”

The best play of the championship game? “When we got those last two outs in the last game where they hit a ground ball and then we got a double play.”

Team parent Amber  Zelenay pointed to the importance of teamwork in the victory. 

“They really came together as a team. They all played on different teams during the regular season,” Zelenay said. 

She described the special nature of the PALL community,where families get to know each other well over several years.

The PALL Futures team’s success was the result of intensive preparation. Manager Jerry Chang said practices began in late May, with sessions six to seven days a week focusing on baseball fundamentals.

“We really focused on the fundamentals of baseball, making sure that players were using proper mechanics in fielding and hitting and that they were utilizing smart base running and situational strategy,” Chang explained.

Patrick Zelenay, a nine-year-old team member who typically plays shortstop, shared his first reaction to the win.

“At first I was a little bit emotional, but now I’m just totally really happy,” he said.

The tournament, hosted by East Altadena Little League, serves as a stepping stone in the path to the 2024 Little League Intermediate 50/70 World Series. It showcases the best young talent in the area and provides a competitive environment for skill development. 

Chang praised the tournament hosts, stating that East Altadena Little League ran the event smoothly and it went “off without a hitch.”

Manager Chang said there is a lasting impact of the experience on the young athletes. 

“I really hope that they take these lessons with them, not just in baseball, but in life,” he said. 

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