From Ripken Baseball:
Ripken Baseball, the host organization for the 17th annual Cal Ripken World Series (CRWS), today announced the Hickory Hornets from Harford County, Maryland, and Bel Air Braves from Bel Air, Maryland, will represent Harford County and Team Maryland, respectively, at the 2016 Cal Ripken World Series. Ripken Baseball will host the Babe Ruth League’s Major/70 premier event, featuring elite 11-and 12-year-old youth baseball players from around the world at The Ripken Experience Aberdeen Powered By Under Armour youth baseball complex in Aberdeen, Maryland from Friday, July 29 – Saturday, August 6.
“Congratulations to both Harford County teams for qualifying for the 17th annual tournament,” said Baseball Hall of Famer and Ripken Baseball chairman and founder, Cal Ripken, Jr. “Growing up in Harford County, it means a great deal to me to have two teams from this area represented. We look forward hosting the Hickory Hornets and Bel Air Braves and giving them a big league experience we hope they’ll never forget.”
The Hickory Hornets and Bel Air Braves matched up for a best two-out-of-three Harford County tournament on Memorial Day Weekend. The two teams fought for the host bid, the Hornets winning a first-game pitching duel, 2-1, and the next, an extra innings game, 17-11. This past weekend, the Braves tried for the state bid in the Maryland State Tournament, where eight teams competed.
“The Cal Ripken World Series is an amazing opportunity for the kids in Harford County,” said Hornets Coach Joe McIlhenney. “We’re looking forward to them creating lasting memories from meeting other players around the world. We’re also excited that two Harford County teams will be participating in this year’s World Series. The level of baseball and talent coming out of such a small area is pretty impressive.”
The Bel Air Braves were led by pitcher Gabriel Rosica who allowed four hits, no walks and five strikeouts. Rosica also went 3-3 with a single, double and homerun in the semi-final, for an impressive 4-1 win over Prince George’s County Select Blue Socks, last year’s Team Maryland representative and the favorite to win this year’s tournament. The Braves beat Mt. Airy 5-2 in the championship game, pitched by Brady Manara, who went 1-2, allowed eight hits, zero walks and three strikeouts.
“Our team has been working for years to get to this tournament,” said Braves coach Darrell Barrett. “After five years with these boys, we finally made it to the Cal Ripken World Series, and I think our win and Harford County’s wins last year help solidify spots for Team Maryland and Team Harford County for years to come.”
The Cal Ripken World Series is where the world comes to play, the Ripken Way, and serves as the culminating tournament of the Babe Ruth League’s 12u Cal Ripken Division. The World Series unites the 10 best teams from across the United States and eight international teams. Games will be played on the innovative fields at The Ripken Experience Aberdeen Powered By Under Armour complex, including Cal Sr.’s Yard, a two-thirds replica of Camden Yards.
Fans around the world will have the opportunity to watch free live streams of the championship games on Fox Sports 2 and MLB.com. The championship games on August 5 and 6 will also include live commentary from MLB veteran and Emmy Award-winning sports broadcaster Bill Ripken.
Opening ceremonies will begin on Friday, July 29, followed by the first game of the tournament as Middle Atlantic takes on host team Harford County at 8:00 p.m. at Cal Sr.’s Yard. Pool play competition will take place from July 30 – August 3 with up to eight games played each day, beginning at 10:00 a.m. EST. On Thursday, August 4, the tournament will see four games of single elimination playoffs beginning at 12:30 p.m. to determine the participants of the International Championship and U.S. Championship games.
For information on the tournament, visit www.ripkenbaseball.com/world_series. For game updates and behind the scenes with Team Harford County and Team Maryland, follow @CRWS_HarCo and @CRWS_Maryland on Twitter.