San Diegans pitching in to help Sweetwater Valley All-Stars - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diegans pitching in to help Sweetwater Valley All-Stars

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The Sweetwater Valley All-Stars will soon be swinging for the fences in the Little League World Series.

Getting through the qualifying rounds was tough enough, but now, coaches and parents are being hit with the tough task of trying to pay for the expensive trip.

Currently, the Sweetwater Valley All-Stars are in Pennsylvania preparing for their first game, but the parents are in San Diego in the process of booking air travel with last minute prices that are soaring.

Alan Botterman is in charge of raising money to send the players, parents and coaches to Williamsport. Alan loosely calculated about $150,000 for airfare, lodging and meal expenses for the trip.

One easy way to raise money for the boys is to go to any Local Rita's Italian Ice store in the county. Rita's fundraising pledge was suppose to expire Monday night, but has now been extended through next Sunday. Customers can go to any of the twenty-five Rita's business locations in San Diego County and mention the Sweetwater Valley All-Stars and twenty-five percent of your order becomes a donation.

Rita's Managing Director, Kurt Kuypar, says, "Bonita was our first store when we opened it up in April 8th 2014 so it has a soft spot in our heart and when we heard this was happening it's just pure magic."

Other South Bay sponsors are stepping up to the plate as well.

As a teenager, Bill Ballard, the owner of Bonita Valley Auto Care, played baseball with Sweetwater's head coach Ward Lannom. Ballard remarks, "I don't know if Ward hit the ball as hard as Walker (Ward's son who plays for the team) but he's definitely a good ball player."

Recently, Assistant Coach Jaime Ramirez, was fired from his job for missing too much time at work. Dugout coach Jaime Ramirez told CBS 8 by phone that he was let go from his job Monday morning after working at Altar Produce for a year. He worked for the company as an avocado commodity manager and would commute to Mexico frequently. Read more about this story here.

We asked Botterman if any of the fundraising money would go towards helping out Ramirez. He says, "You know, obviously, the firing of Jaime was shameful and horrible but we don't know what other families are going through either, so what we're trying to do is raise enough money to reimburse these families the best we can."

If you would like to help the team, you can purchase a hat, a t-shirt or make a donation by CLICKING HERE.

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