The Bel Air Braves have been priming up for the big dance- the Cal Ripken World Series- which begins Friday night (opening ceremonies) and competition starting Saturday. But first they took their talent on the road, participating in the Big Kahuna 12U tournament at the Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach. Then they paired up with the visiting Australia team for a scrimmage this past Monday night and made some more memories.
In Myrtle Beach, Bel Air represented in pool play with a 3-2 record, earning themselves a #8 seed heading into the playoffs. (Isn’t #8 the magic number?) Unfortunately for the Braves, they lost in the first round “to a very good Northern Ohio team” according to head coach Lee Boone. Still, the experience was well worth it and the boys certainly enjoyed their time there.
“Playing baseball at Myrtle Beach [was] great!” said Eric McDonough in an email. Eric’s teammate Sam Thornton offered up this sentiment: “I wish we had won the tournament in Myrtle Beach, but at least we made the playoffs. I think it would have been fun even if we didn’t win a single game though, because there’s so much to do there with my friends on the team!”
Clearly, the Braves are a tight-knit group and it doesn’t always have to revolve around baseball. Having fun is also essential, “We went to the beach and to the NASCAR Speedpark to race go-carts almost every day too,” Sam noted. Don’t think that parents are off on the sidelines all the time either. They have as much fun as the kids, which was evident as Tom McDonough lapped up some excitement, cruising the NASCAR Speedpark himself. “It’s fun for the parents also,” he wrote in an email.
However, baseball is where it’s at for these Big Kahunas and it just happens to find ways onto their schedule. This past Monday Bel Air welcomed the Australian team with a scrimmage game. And what better way to introduce foreigners to Harford County than the whole smearing cupcake routine (I’m hoping to get more on this later)? “The boys broke the lines of communication with a couple of long drives, pizza and soda and a few smeared cupcakes.” Tom McDonough admitted.
It was an exceptional time indeed. Especially for Sam who was celebrating a special occasion- his 12th birthday. “We went to eat pizza with the Aussies after the game and celebrated my birthday with them. So, I had Happy Birthday sung to me in two languages… kind of. After that half my team spent the night at my house. It was a birthday that I won’t ever forget!”
Who says scrimmages are to be taken lightly? Apparently not the Aussies. “I got hit by a line drive when I was pitching and then I got my elbow stepped on at second base,” Sam said. But Bel Air takes things in stride both on and off the field, “After the game we all went to pizza and had birthday cupcakes…I asked which one of them hit me. He raised his hand and we all laughed about it.”
That’s just how these Braves roll!
With the Cal Ripken World Series upon us, the Braves are anxiously awaiting to bring more memories home. Bel Air’s squares off with Jupiter, Fl. Saturday at 12:30 at Fenway Park (in Aberdeen) and Sunday against Baxter, Minn at 2:30 at Memorial Stadium (in Aberdeen). And of course, they are psyched for the Opening Ceremonies taking place Friday night that start at 7 p.m.
Get out there and root, root, root for the home team!
Go Bel Air!