Thirteen Encinitas boys will represent the United States' western region this weekend when they compete for the first time ever in the Junior League Baseball World Series.
The Encinitas Little League All-Stars junior division will head to Taylor, Mich. on Aug. 11 to represent 13 states against teams from the southeast, southwest, central and east divisions.
Their first game takes place Aug. 13 against the southwest champion team from Abilene, Texas. The World Series runs through Aug. 20.
"They're getting to do something that such a small percentage of little league baseball players ever get to do," said Danny Muckley, who has been managing the team comprised of 13- and 14-year-old boys for three years.
The boys — who are from five individual teams within the Encinitas Little League junior division — tried out for the all-star team in June. Seven of them are returning players from previous years.
Since making the team, they have practiced up to six times a week and have beaten teams throughout the western region in order to earn their chance to compete in the World Series.
"Even making an all-star team is an exceptional accomplishment, but to then be a successful all-star team in one of the hotbeds of baseball, which is Southern California, is really something that these kids and the community are really proud of," Muckley said.
This is the first time in the team's 61-year history that it is headed to the World Series.
Muckley said the accomplishments are a "culmination of so many variables," including past coaches and great volunteers.
Last year, the team narrowly missed the opportunity to compete in the World Series when they lost to a team from Hawaii, Muckley said.
"Our team this year performed at the next level," he said.
The team is raising money for travel to the World Series and other accommodations.
It is estimated that travel, food and lodging will cost each family about $3,000. Encinitas Little League is hoping to raise about $40,000 more than what's already been donated.
"We're going to need to ask the community for some fundraising support because it's going to be extremely expensive to send the kids and their families out there to represent California and Encinitas Little League," Muckley said.
People can donate and find more information at www.bit.ly/2fajByK