San Diego’s underdog sports teams finish playoff runs

What a ride it’s been for sports fans in San Diego.

The San Diego Padres, Wave FC and Loyal were both in playoff runs simultaneously, but on Sunday those stories came to a end without a championship.

Even with the losses, local baseball and soccer fans said there’s lots to be happy about, including Padres superfan Ryan Cohen.

“I was born in 2000, so I’ve literally never seen anything like this. And to be in the ballpark, it felt like 45,000 versions of myself just going nuts and jumping off the wall,” he told KPBS about the series win against the Dodgers last week.

The Padres were eliminated in game 5 of the National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday. San Diego Wave FC also lost 2-1 in a semifinal match against the Portland Thorns on that same day.

Carrie Van Tatenhoven said the loss doesn’t take away from the fact that the soccer team exceeded all expectations.

“It’s been a while since I’ve had a sports team that I was so excited about,” she said. “Nobody expected us to get this far.”

Each team brought new hope to the region while gaining fans during their historic seasons.

“I’m a San Diego through and through. I love where I’m from and to see the whole city connect and wearing hats around town, wearing jerseys, flying their flags and being proud of the Padres and San Diego — that’s all I ‘ve ever wanted,” Cohen said.

Both team’s seasons held meaning beyond the final scores of the games.

“It brings just such an incredible culture of building strong, powerful women. For me that is one of the biggest parts,” Van Tatenhoven said about the Wave FC’s historically successful and highly attended inaugural season.

For Cohen, the Padres also had a gritty and rewarding season even though they were just games away from a World Series spot.

“Is the season a complete success? I guess not. But it left memories that I’ll never forget and it sets us up so well for next year, I couldn’t be more excited,” the 22-year-old said.

While those fans will have to wait for more regular-season action until next spring, the region’s hockey team, the San Diego Gulls, are starting their season along with many of the county’s collegiate sports teams.

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Jorge Oliveira

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