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Sue Bush
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Down to the Wire: Cal Ripken Youth Baseball League Championship Series Continues Tonight

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, July 18, 2005

The championship series is a double-elimination tournament
Williamstown – It’s getting down to the wire for three Cal Ripken Youth Baseball League teams vying for the 11-to-12-year-old division state title during the championship series being hosted at the Bud Anderson Field.

The Anderson field is adjacent to Cole Field in Williamstown.

Three teams remain in contention for the title; tonight [July 18] at 6 p.m., a Marlboro, Mass. team will face off with a team from Hudson, Mass., according to Western Massachusetts District 1 league Commissioner Barry Wadsworth. The winning team will face off against a Greenfield, Mass. team tomorrow night at 6 p.m., and the tension is mounting because the Greenfield team is so far the only undefeated team in the championship series.

Williamstown’s Ripken team was eliminated on July 17, after meeting an 8-4 defeat at the hands of a Northbridge, Mass. team. Later that day, Northbridge fell to Greenfield.

The championship series is a double-elimination tournament.

Williamstown defeated a Douglas, Mass. team earlier in the series 11-7, and lost a game to a Hudson, Mass. team with a final score of 9-6.

If the Greenfield team wins tomorrow night’s game, the championship will be decided and the Franklin County District 1 team will have completed the series without a single loss. But if they are defeated, the final and deciding game will occur on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at the Bud Anderson Field.

“There is some anxiety building,” said Wadsworth.

Hosting the series is an honor for the town, Wadsworth said, and noted that the Ripken youth league boasts 380 teams state-wide. There are 12 teams established in town, Ripken said, and he credited Williams College officials and league volunteers as the catalysts that led to the town’s hosting the series.

Ripken youth league baseball allows communities to form teams with players from postal zip codes outside a specific municipality, Wadsworth said, and added that for smaller communities, the ability to recruit players from surrounding areas is beneficial. Ripken youth baseball also allows inter-community play, something that adds to the fun and sportsmanship of the game, he said.

About 90 percent of the town’s teams are comprised of town youth and 10 percent of the players come from other communities, Wadsworth said.

“The league is growing because there are no restraints,” Wadsworth said. “There are minimum innings and the kids have equal time at bat and on the field. Cal Ripken [youth league] is all about the kids. We have about 150 kids in our league and I think it’s because our kids get to play.”

For example, if a specific team has 12 members, during regular season play, all team members have equal chance to bat and play in the field during any one game. During the championship series, a nine-member team plays during the games. Wadsworth said.

“It really is good for the kids,” he said.

Susan Bush can be reached by e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net or by calling 802-823-9367.
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