Kevin Minjares served as a bat boy for his older brother's team when it participated in the National Baseball Congress World Series.
Minjares dreamed about one day returning as a player and trying to capture the title at the historic event.
He will get his chance this week as a member of the Conejo Oaks. The Oaks play their opening game in the 78th annual NBC World Series in Wichita, Kan., tonight against the Seattle Studs.
"It's so exciting for me to actually get to play. I think it makes it even more meaningful to me," said Minjares, a Camarillo High and Oxnard College product. "I have been there and know what to expect and I am telling the guys about my experiences because they haven't played there yet and it's making them more excited."
The Oaks clinched an automatic berth into the World Series by winning the California Cup in Santa Barbara last month.
It's the organization's third appearance in the World Series. The Oaks placed 17th in 2008 and fourth in 2009.
The Oaks just completed their season in the California Collegiate League, where they finished fourth with a 12-18 overall record.
The Santa Barbara Foresters and San Luis Obispo Blues finished tied for first place in the standings, and both teams will be joining the Oaks at the World Series.
The Foresters are the defending World Series champions.
"They are the benchmark for us and we know we can compete with them on a daily basis. It gives us reason to be optimistic," Oaks head coach David Soliz said. "I told the guys our motto is 'In it to win it,' and I think we have the roster to do it, especially in a shorter series. We have just as much a chance as anybody else."
The Oaks had to trim their roster to 28 players for the World Series, and there is no guarantee everyone will see the field.
"The strategies are a little different than during the regular season and we will be looking at matchups more," Soliz said. "It's a little more of a 'win every pitch'-type attitude and we are going to play the guys we think will help the team win."
Left-hander Landon Hunt is scheduled to start the opening game for the Oaks against Seattle.
"I am looking forward to it. These are situations you want to pitch in, big moments like these," said Hunt, a Moorpark High graduate. "Hopefully, I can help us get off to a good start in the tournament."
The Oaks will begin their opening game at 10 p.m. CDT in Kansas, and it may not be their latest start of the tournament.
From Friday-Sunday, the World Series has a "Round the Clock" promotion with 17 games played in 56 hours.
In 2009, the Oaks began a game at 1 a.m. that went extra innings and didn't finish until at 5 a.m.
"I am actually glad we play at 10 this year because the weather is supposed to be 110 degrees on Wednesday," Soliz said. "We have already been talking to the kids about hydration and we will go to a local Vons and stock up on water and Powerade and keep the guys indoors as much as possible before the games."
The Oaks could be in the heat for only a few days or more than a week depending on their success. They would prefer an extended stay in the hot sun.
"The goal is to win it all and I think we can do it," Hunt said. "We all think we have a good team and have guys that like playing with each other. There is a lot of good chemistry and confidence we can win."
The Oaks' games in Wichita will be streamed live over the Internet at http://www.kadytv.com.