Gering to host regional tournament
     2014-07-24      By Kaitlyn Krzyzanowski    kaitlynk@geringcitizen.com
Courtesy photo - Featured is the Gering 9U team beginning with the first row, Kaid Ybarra, Sabastian Martinez, Karsen Ryan, AJ Onstott, Tristin Strauch, Morin Lawing. Second row, Kennan Allen, Carmelo Timblin, Aydin Cervantes, Keagan Shiflett, Kaden Bohnsack. Third row, coaches Adam Onstott, Zach Smith, and Abe Martinez.  
On Friday, July 25 through Tuesday, July 29 Gering will be hosting the annual Midwest Plains Region Cal Ripkin 9 and under tournament which will take place at the baseball facilities located in Oregon Trail Park on diamond 10 with games lasting all day. Under the Babe Ruth League, the Cal Ripkin tournaments are a way for young kids to have the opportunity to play on a traveling team at a young age and learn more about their passion for baseball.

Games will begin at 10 a.m. with the final game starting at 5:30 p.m. with two exceptions to this schedule. First, an Opening Ceremony for the tournament will be held at 5:30 p.m. on July 25 which will move the last game of the day to 6 p.m. Second, on the final day there will only be three games held with the last game beginning at 4 p.m. Eight teams will be competing from all across the region and in order for teams to have qualified for this tournament, they needed to win their state title (with exceptions from Nebraska and Colorado). The following states are expected to attend: Nebraska (Gering and North Platte), Colorado (two teams from Denver), Kansas, Missouri, and North Dakota. A team from Saskatchewan, Canada will be making the journey to participate in the meet as well.

President of Gering baseball and tournament director Doug Jones is thrilled for both the opportunity to host the regional tournament for all of the teams who are coming and also for the experience that the young kids will get from being able to participate.

“We are really excited to have all of the teams come to stay in Gering. We’ve never had a Canadian team come down as well, so that is something really great. For a lot of these kids, it will be their first time playing traveling team sports and so it is going to be a great experience. We hope that if anybody sees any of the teams that they please welcome them into our town. Since many have never been in this area before, it would be extremely helpful to give the players and coaches any tips you may have on places to see and eat,” Jones said.

With excitement in the air, there is one thing that will be missing from the tournament this year which Jones was fond of during his traveling days playing baseball.

“It’s going to be really different this year because in the past there have been host families who would take kids in and get them to and from their games. In fact, I did that when I was in traveling baseball and I still keep in touch with some of the families I stayed with today. This year the program has done away with that part of it,” Jones said.

Even without the need for host families, any extra set of hands for the tournament would be appreciated. If interested in volunteering and helping out or just need more information, feel free to contact Doug Jones at (308) 672-3105.

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