Walla Walla Valley Little League heads to regionals - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Walla Walla Valley Little League heads to regionals

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WALLA WALLA, WA - A local Walla Walla Little League team is the state champion, and now they're headed to regionals with a chance to go to the Little League World Series.

It's the dream of every little leaguer in their backyard on a summer night, the Little League World Series, broadcast every August on ESPN. But for one group of local little leaguers in our own backyard, they're on their way to making that dream a reality. 

We're into August and by now, most Little League teams have packed up their gear for the summer, getting ready for football and soccer or school. But not Walla Walla Valley Little League...not yet.

"It's just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity just to go to regionals," said Joseph Baffney, a Walla Walla Valley left-fielder.

Valley is headed to the Little League Northwest Regional Tournament in California at the end of this week, and for the winner of the six-team regional tournament?

The Little League World Series.

"They've succeeded with their goals," said Charlie Thomsen, the head coach. "And now it's just kind of like playing on house money. We're going to have fun. This is going to be the funnest time of their careers."

It's the first time in the Little League Regionals for a team from Walla Walla, who beat Auburn in a 13 to 12 thriller to win the state championship.

And the people of Walla Walla are showing their support, even getting the team to Seattle to catch their flight to California.

"The local American Legion team has their own bus. And they're going to help. That's another way the community is helping out."

For these kids, only one step away from reaching their ultimate goal of the Little League World Series, they can visualize the goal because of the publicity the tournament brings...they grew up watching it every summer in TV.

"I've always wished to be there, see all those guys playing, always having a lot of fun," said Valley infielder Andrew Hall.

And as they head into their first regional game Sunday against Gillette Little League in Wyoming, the boys from Walla Walla have one thing in mind.

"At the end of the day, be able to look yourself in the mirror, and go, 'hey, win or lose, I gave a hundred and fifty percent.'"

They play this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. on ESPN 3.