HOUSTON (KIAH) — The 2000 Bellaire Little League team is as good as it gets in the Houston area.
They won the U.S. championship in Williamsport, Pa., only to lose in the Little League World Series Championship game against Venezuela, the winner of the tournament’s international bracket.
The Little Leaguers from Needville, 40 miles southwest of Houston, are trying to do one better.
They’re three wins shy of a LLWS championship, and they play their next game against Seattle in the national semifinals on Wednesday. A win puts them in Saturday’s U.S. Championship game, then a Saturday win puts them in the LLWS championship game on Sunday against the International champion.
“Have fun and believe in yourself,” said Terrence McConn, the catcher on the 2000 Bellaire squad. “Go out and get a W.”
McConn and his Little League teammate Drew Zizinia spoke Tuesday about their run at the world series and how the big stage didn’t faze them, just like it apparently doesn’t faze the Needville boys.
“We were too young to be awestruck by everything,” Zizinia said. “Which was a great thing, because you don’t really know what nerves are at 12 years old.”
Bellaire is the last Houston area team to make it to the LLWS championship game, falling to Venezuela 3-2 in 2000. The first Texas team to reach the LLWS championship game was the Northwest 45 Little League team from Spring, who lost to Chinese Taipei 17-3.
The last Texas team to make it to the championship game was a team from Lufkin back in 2017. They lost to Japan 12-2.
Three other Houston-area teams made it to the U.S. Championship game but lost. The Lamar National Little League team from Richmond fell to a team from Thousand Oaks, Calif., 4-0 in 2004. Pearland had two different teams reach the U.S. final (Pearland White Little League in 2010 and Pearland West Little League in 2015).
Two other Texas teams from Lubbock in 2007 and San Antonio in 2009 also reached the U.S. Championship, but both failed to reach the main title game.
Now in their 30s, Zizinia and McConn are very supportive of Needville — even if they win the whole thing — something they fell just short of.
“Y’all are playing great,” Zizinia said. “Do what you do, and go get a W.”