An influx of participants led to a quiet renaissance for the Del Norte Babe Ruth Baseball program this spring.
The Del Norte Babe Ruth (ages 13–15) All-Stars pose for a photo at Peterson Park in downtown Crescent City. Del Norte is one of eight teams that will participate in the 2013 Babe Ruth Baseball Northern California State Championships July 13–18 in Mountain View. Del Norte Triplicate / Robert Husseman
Del Norte Babe Ruth fielded four teams of boys ages 13–15 for competitive play in 2013, after fielding just two in 2012. An influx of 13-year-olds that moved up after playing Little League baseball through age 12 contributed to the increased numbers, according to league coaches.
From those four teams, coaches and league president Rick Duncan selected an All-Star team that will compete in the 2013 Babe Ruth Baseball Northern California State Championships July 13–18 at McKelvey Field in Mountain View.
“Some of the older kids haven’t been able to play All-Star (games) the last two years,” said Dan Bassett, head coach of the Del Norte All-Star team.
Del Norte Babe Ruth is the lone team in Northern California District 1, giving it an automatic berth to the Northern California state championships. Del Norte will play the champion of Northern California District 4 on July 13 at 4 p.m.
The tournament operates under a double-elimination format. The eventual champion will win as few as four and as many as six games in capturing the title.
Three members of the Babe Ruth All-Star team were on the Del Norte High varsity baseball roster: sophomore Austin Healy and juniors Steven Maready and Jonathan Calderon.
Joining them on the roster are Johnnie Rafalowski, Landon McAlexander, Cole Harper, Carter Costello, Tyler Mitchell, Kameron Facey, Nick Bray, Ryan Janeiro and Jovannie Munoz. Preston Rafalowski and Aaron Healy are the team’s assistant coaches.
“We have a good corps of 15-year-olds that are leaders and (we have) 13-year-olds that can play baseball with anybody,” Bassett said.
Apart from its solid baseball skills, the All-Star team is strong athletically. Healy, Maready and Calderon were all three-sport athletes for Del Norte High; other members of the team are participating in summer football and basketball workouts at the high school.
“We’ve got a very well-rounded team,” Bassett said. “We have a strong pitching corps. Other teams struggle to field a catcher; we have four catchers. We have a strong outfield — good at tracking fly balls.”
The Del Norte Babe Ruth All-Stars are holding two fundraisers to offset the costs for their trip to Mountain View. The first is a car wash, to be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. in the parking lot of Pizza Hut, 835 Northcrest Drive, Crescent City.
On Wednesday, July 10, the All-Stars will be holding a spaghetti feed fundraiser from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Crescent City Elks Lodge No. 1689, 359 H St., Crescent City. The cost is $7 per person or $25 for a family of four.