Brian O’Gara saw the sign beside Route 25 welcoming motorists to Westbrook, home of the 2005 New England Little League champions, and felt a flash of emotion.

“It’s the same feeling every town in America has, I’m sure, when their Little League players win and go so far,” said O’Gara. “I haven’t lived in Westbrook for 30 years, but I felt that pride. It’s an accomplishment for your team and your community.

“What that team did is a signature moment of their lives.”

O’Gara has perspective. He’s a former Westbrook Little League all-star player himself. In 1979 and 12 years old, he and his teammates were Maine champions.

Today he’s the vice president of special events for Major League Baseball, with an office at its New York City headquarters.

Ten years ago he drove to the Little League World Series to celebrate Westbrook’s achievement and to reconnect with Rick Knight, who was his Little League coach in 1979.

“Rick was a second father to me. He was in his late 20s then and he was instantly a role model, a good person. I think of the lessons that he taught all of us and how losing was a challenge for us to learn from.”

O’Gara went alone to Westbrook’s first game on Aug. 20, 2005. He stood at the back of the stadium, not far from the press box. He seemed to smile often, watching kids he didn’t know from his hometown.

Only 10 months earlier he was in St. Louis for Game 4 of the 2004 World Series, won by the Boston Red Sox for their first championship in 86 years. Part of O’Gara’s responsibilities is to make sure the World Series trophy is ready for the MLB commissioner to present to the winning team.

After Westbrook lost its first game, O’Gara had to return home for a family commitment. “But I had already caught the bug. The very next weekend I took my 8-year-old son (Sean O’Gara) to the U.S. championship game. We made a vow. We’re been back every year since.”

Except this August. Sean must be on his college campus for freshmen orientation. His dad will be with him. Time marches on.

“I’m glad to see Rick is still coaching,” said O’Gara, 48, who saw his 25th anniversary with MLB this year. “That makes me feel younger.”