Pitching for Babe Ruth: It’s time to begin
Craving peanuts, popcorn, sunflower seeds or soda?
It’s Babe Ruth baseball season again — time for the area’s top 13-15-year-old ballplayers to shine before heading up to high school.
The season starts Saturday at approximately 6 p.m., following the completion of a season-ending doubleheader for South Tahoe High School. The opener pits the Giants against the A’s at Todd Fields.
The Grand Opening barbecue is Sunday at noon.
There are nine teams playing a 16-game schedule.
A double-elimination tournament will crown the Babe Ruth champion team.
The South Lake Tahoe chapter will also host the 15 -year-old’s all-star tournament, which is a compilation of the top 15-year-olds from South Lake Tahoe, North Lake Tahoe, Reno, Carson and Truckee.
Each region will select approximately 11 players to play on its team. All-star tournaments will also be held for the top 13- and 14-year-olds in Reno and North Lake Tahoe, respectively.
“You would be surprised by how good some of these kids are,” said John Hash, the league’s player agent.
As the agent, Hash’s job is to scout and place incoming talent, and to control the draft.
Babe Ruth, also known to parents as the “Big Boy League,” is the league between little league majors and high school. It tends to get competitive.
“When the 13-year-olds step up, it’s amazing what they face,” said league President Tom Nobriga. “In major league they’re counting stars in the sky and picking grass (in the outfield). Here they’re wanting to get the ball hit to them. So there’s a big competitive difference.”
With the fundamentals behind them, it’s the age when the players begin to shine, when the curveball and the fastball begin to take shape.
The league holds about 120 kids between 13 and 15.
Another 16 senior boys, ages 16-18, play on a traveling team throughout Northern Nevada.
The games will he held starting on Saturday at 9 a.m. and Sunday at noon. The season ends near the end of June.
“This year we only drafted the new kids coming in. They went through tryouts and then they’re drafted by the managers of the nine teams,” Hash said. “We look good. This is a very competitive group of kids. Every kid that either plays varsity or junior varsity (in high school) comes out of this league.”
Tim Cain will manage the A’s; managing the Cubs is Dan Jones; Doug Van Gorden is taking on head post with the Giants; Chuck Diana will manage the Indians; for the Mariners, Jack L. Harrington will steer the ship; Don Bosson will manager the Rangers; Jack Condella will take the Reds; the Red Sox will have the good word of Ken Mellberg; and Larry Finkel will head up the Yankees.
“We’re going to have a great year,” said former league president Mark Shehadi, who is coaching the Giants. “We’re going to go undefeated,” he said, adding a competitive zing. “They’ll all by gunning for us now!”
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