After a summer of success for Del Norte Little League, including two all star baseball teams and an all star softball team reaching the Oregon State Tournament, a group of nine players and three coaches decided they wanted to keep playing baseball through the offseason.

And so the CC Warriors were born.

Head coach Chris Rice said the CC Warriors are the first youth travel baseball team in Del Norte County that he is aware of. The Warriors just returned from Medford, Oregon, where they took third place out of eight teams in the 11 and under age group at the Bash to School tournament. The Warriors were 2-1 overall at the tournament.

“We did pretty well,” Rice said. “We made it to the semifinals and had the lead, but we lost it at the very end, so we ended up taking third place.”

Although the team is made up mostly of players that competed on the Del Norte All Star team over the summer, the CC Warriors are not affiliated with Del Norte Little League. Rice said the team has its own insurance, purchased through AAU, and competes under a different set of rules than Little League.

“We are playing 50-70 (the pitching mound is 50 feet from home plate, while the bases are 70 feet apart) and the kids can field a dropped third strike, so it is much different than Little League rules — it is more like Major League rules,” Rice said. “So it is a new experience for our kids.”

Rice said the idea to form the team was inspired by a handful of players who are competing on a similar travel baseball team called the Humboldt Steelheads. Both Jared Dixon and Ethan Thomas are competing for the Steelheads’ 12U team, while Cole Blackburn was playing for the Steelheads’ 11U team. Blackburn now plays for both the Steelheads and the Warriors.

“Those couple boys kind of started it, and we decided that we had enough kids to field a team of nine kids rather than having a few kids driving down to Humboldt,” Rice said.

Dixon and Thomas helped the Steelheads 12U team take second place at the Bash to School tournament in Medford. Rice said Dixon has also been attending the CC Warriors’ practices every day, along with Blackburn.

Rice said the CC Warriors have two more tournaments planned for this fall, competing at the Fall Classic Oct. 7–8 and at the Turkey Slam Nov. 4–5. Both tournaments will also be held in Medford.

“We are basically competing out of Medford right now, just because it is close and it is a lot more affordable than anywhere else,” Rice said.

The Warriors are also hoping to set up a few extra weekend games here or there against other travel teams in the region.

“We made some contacts through the tournament that we just played in, and we are going to try to schedule a few exhibition games on weekends,” Rice said. “We are trying to get something set up right now with Grants Pass and Yreka.”

Although currently the CC Warriors only have an 11 and under team, Rice said that team will have to move` up to 12 and under when the teams resume play this fall. Rice said he is also hoping to form a 10 and under team under the CC Warriors’ banner this fall but the team needs about nine or ten players and at least one coach in order to get started.

The CC Warriors will be attempting to raise some money for the new program on Saturday, holding a car wash from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Northwoods Realty located at 340 U.S. 101 in Crescent City. The cost of a wash is a donation.

“The money raised will go towards our tournaments, uniforms and equipment,” Rice said.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com.

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