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JAMESTOWN – It’s ‘Batter Up!’ for the City of Jamestown as they prepare to host their record 18th Babe Ruth World Series, with events commencing this evening.
The week of baseball will begin tonight with the ‘Parade of Champions,’ starting on Third Street at 6 p.m., honoring the 13U baseball teams that have reported to Jamestown after hugely successful seasons.
“These ten teams are champions. They are representing the entire United States, including Hawaii, so we have to honor them, we have to show our support for them, they need to come here and feel like this is an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Kim Ecklund, the Vice President and Public Relations Division Director for the Jamestown subdivision of the Babe Ruth World Series.
The parade is expected to be heavily attended, which Ecklund was thrilled about.
“It has grown immensely. I keep getting more people wanting to be in it, which is a great thing to celebrate,” commented Ecklund. “It’s a great thing to celebrate baseball, it’s a great thing to celebrate these kids, and it’s a great thing for the community to be able to come out and do these things after so much not being able to do.”
The City of Jamestown will also likely benefit financially, with a boost in local commerce as hosts of the tournament.
“The cost of the World Series is 250,000 [dollars]. The economic impact is over a million and a half [dollars],” detailed Ecklund.
Much of the local community has spent the past few weeks getting ready for the influx of travelers who will be spending the next week in town.
“Super excited that Jamestown got back the Babe Ruth World Series again this year,” explained Starr Ryder, who owns sports memorabilia shop Ballgame Heroes on Third Street along with his wife and two children. “We’re excited to have a spot for [the players and their families] to come when they’re not playing or when they have a few hours off.”
Ryder goes on to say that any kid who comes into the store won’t leave empty-handed.
“Kids can stop in and literally get free packs [of baseball cards] here. You’re going to come in, you’re going to be given free cards,” explained Ryder. “Maybe they don’t have a five-dollar bill in their pocket, they’re not leaving here without something. We’re going to make sure that they’re all taken care of.”
It’s not just Jamestown residents who are looking forward to the tournament; coaches are also thrilled to be participating in the once-in-a-lifetime event.
“These kids have been working hard to get to this point, and to travel all the way out here to play ball is special,” stated John Bugher, the manager of the Eau Claire, Wisconsin representatives in the tournament. “It’s a great opportunity to come to Jamestown.”
Lastly, and arguably most importantly, the kids who will grace the field over the next week in competition were ecstatic to have the opportunity to play in the Babe Ruth World Series as well.
“It took a lot of hard work, and it’s really exciting to be here,” said Aiden Pankratz, one of the left fielders for Eau Claire.
His teammate, third baseman Blake Bugher, echoed his sentiments.
“It’s pretty exciting to play in this tournament with all these players,” commented Bugher.
Finally, when asked what he was most looking forward to during this tournament, Bugher’s answer was simple: “Winning the championship.”
The first official game of the World Series will begin tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. Saturday through Wednesday will feature four games of 13U baseball, beginning at 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. The semifinals will be held on Thursday and Friday in the evenings, and the championship match will be a week from tomorrow at 1 p.m.
Admission to the stadium is free for all games. The Jamestown 13U squad will play all their games at 7 p.m., giving locals the opportunity to watch their own community members play in prime time at Russell E. Diethrick, Jr. Park.
This year’s event will be extra special as well, as the City of Jamestown will be honored for their recent induction into the Babe Ruth World Series Hall of Fame after faithfully hosting the tournament for so many years.
The Babe Ruth World Series committee is still looking for religious leaders to perform invocations before each game, along with national anthem singers. Ecklund asked that people interested get in touch with her if they are able to help out.
More information can be found at baberuthworldseries.org.
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