Most of their friends have put away the bats, balls and gloves for the summer.
But two local teams are hoping to play baseball for another week.
Guilderland and host Clifton Park begin play Friday in the Babe Ruth 13-year-old World Series at Clifton Common, competing in different pools in the 10-team tournament .
“The kids are really excited, they’re really nervous to see how good these teams are from other parts of the country,” said Guilderland manager Brian Grabek, whose Eastern New York state champions open against Ohio Valley representative Jasper, Ind., at
5 p.m. Friday.
“They’re anxious to get going,” said Steve Frey, whose Clifton Park team closes the first day of play with a 7:30 game against Eagle Pass, Texas, the Southwest Regional champion. “It’s been a year-long process, We started in September, worked all winter and played a
60-game season, Everyone is ready.”
Neither local team had to win a regional tournament to get to the World Series, which concludes on Aug. 26.
“Because Clifton Park was hosting, they got an automatic bid, and the best local team also goes,” said Grabek. “By winning the state tournament, we got to skip the Mid-
Both coaches think their clubs will benefit from being “home teams.”
“The other teams had to travel to a regional, then come to New York,” said Grabek. “We don’t have to go through all that travel.”
“They’ve been working hard,
focusing on this,” said Frey, a Shenendehowa High grad who is an assistant baseball coach at The College of Saint Rose.
Most of the Guilderland team has been together for four or five years, and played at the modified level in school.
“They’re good friends, the families all know each other,” said Grabek. “Being friends, the kids all know how to pick each other up.”
“Most of our kids have been together on our ‘A’ or ‘B’ teams,” said Frey. “They’s all know each other.”
Both teams have also had to adjust to a bigger game this season.
“It’s a bigger field. You don’t see as many home runs,” said Grabek. “And the pitchers are throwing from 60 feet for the first time.
“We can play small ball, we can do a lot of different things. The 14 kids on the team are all capable of doing something special.
“I just told them to do the best you can, anything can happen.”
“I’ve been trying to get them to not get caught up in the role of
being the host team,” said Frey, who was a bat boy for the host Clifton Park team in 1997. “Our goal is to win the tournament.
“We’re not extraordinary in any certain category. But we can hit, play good defense and throw strikes. We have a bunch of really good players.”
The second- and third-place teams from the two pools will cross and play in the quarterfinals, the pool champs getting byes into next Thursday’s semifinals. The championship game is set for next Friday at 7.
Family passes (two adults, two children under 12), good for all 25 games, are available for $40. Individual day passes are available for $5.
Cranston, R.I. (New England) vs, Grand Forks, N.D. (Midwest Plains), 10 a.m.; Atlantic Shore, N.J. (Middle Atlantic) vs. Glen Allen, Va. (Southeast), 1; Guilderland vs. Jasper, Ind. (Ohio Valley), 5; Clifton Park vs. Eagle Pass, Tex. (Southwest), 7:30.
Atlantic Shore vs. Tri-Valley, Calif. (Pacific Southwest), 10 a.m.; Eagle Pass vs. Meridian, Idaho (Pacific Northwest), 1; Glen Allen vs. Guilderland, 5; Grand Forks vs. Clifton Park, 7:30.
Tri-Valley vs. Jasper, 10 a.m.; Meridian vs. Grand Forks, 1; Guilderland vs. Atlantic Shore, 5; Clifton Park vs. Cranston, 7:30.
Jasper vs. Atlantic Shore, 10 a.m.; Eagle Pass vs. Cranston, 1; Glen Allen vs. Tri-Valley, 5; Clifton Park vs. Meridian, 7:30.
Grand Forks vs. Eagle Pass, 10 a.m.; Cranston vs. Meridian, 1; Jasper vs. Glen Allen, 5; Guilderland vs. Tri-Valley, 7:30.
Quarterfinals, 5 and 7:30.
Semifinals, 5 and 7:30.
Friday, Aug. 26