Mountain Ridge Little League's winning formula

LAS VEGAS -- The excitement for the Mountain Ridge Little League All-Star team is contagious.  On Saturday, the 13 year olds will play for the national title. If they win that, they play Sunday for the Little League World Series championship.

Meanwhile three teams in younger age brackets in the league won the state championship this year.

How could the first Nevada team to make it into the Little League World Series be poised to win the whole thing? And how could Mountain Ridge also field three other state winning teams?

Batting instructor Jason Pagan has a theory.

"I joke with everybody, I play the music here. I play reggae music, Jamaican music, and I tell people I think it's the music," Pagan said.

The one common denominator for every member of the team playing in Williamsport is Bases Loaded, a facility owned by a team member's father.

There's also Pagan, a former college coach, who works on every one of the team member's swings. He says state champs from the other age groups work out a the facility too.

"We work them to fatigue and then we continue training them under fatigue to see how far they can push themselves," Pagan said.

He says a strong core and legs keeps a batter hitting the same mark every time.

The president of Mountain Ridge says the combination of trainers like Pagan and great Las Vegas weather keep her kids sharp all year long.

"These kids play club ball here locally, those guys keep them going, and keep their skills up, and get their reps in," said Kristi Black, president of Mountain Ridge Little League.

Pagan also keeps detailed stats for everyone on Mountain Ridge's roster, right down to the speed and angle of the swing.

"I did that the first day. I saw the range of numbers and I went to the coaches and said this team is a special team," Pagan said.

Mountain Ridge takes on a Chicago team they already beat earlier in the week. The game starts at 12:30 pm on Saturday. Win or lose, Las Vegas will be celebrating with a parade down the Strip on Aug. 30.


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