A group of young baseball players from West Fargo has this message: Don't underestimate North Dakota. West Fargo's 13-year-old Babe Ruth travel team will take that belief to Loudoun County, Va., where it will compete in the World Series this week...
A group of young baseball players from West Fargo has this message: Don't underestimate North Dakota.
West Fargo's 13-year-old Babe Ruth travel team will take that belief to Loudoun County, Va., where it will compete in the World Series this week.
The 10-team tournament begins Friday. West Fargo plays host Loudoun County on Saturday.
The Babe Ruth World Series is rare territory for North Dakota teams. West Fargo is just the eighth team from North Dakota to make the tournament.
"We're really excited. It will be fun," said outfielder Brendan Sluke. "Hopefully we can do well because teams kind of underestimate us since we're not from a baseball state."
That's been a common theme for the past four years as this group of players has qualified for regional play as 10-, 11-, 12- and 13-year-olds, according to coach Jeff Young.
"When we get to those tournaments, everybody wants to play the team from North Dakota because we have such a short season," Young said. "But these kids have great skill and a lot of heart and by the time teams are done playing us, I'm not so sure they think it's such a good idea."
West Fargo takes a 47-10 record into the tournament. The team played tournaments in Minneapolis, Sioux City, Iowa, and Omaha, Neb., during the regular season. It won the North Dakota state tournament to advance to the Midwest Plains regional in Independence, Kan., where it went unbeaten in four games.
"It's exciting because we are the first team from West Fargo to get to the World Series," said catcher Jordan Rheault. "We finally pulled through and hopefully we can keep it going."
West Fargo roster
Coaches: Jeff Young, Todd Rheault
Austin Horsager OF/P
Ben Huber 2B
Jordan Rheault C/2B
Michael Keeran OF/INF
Sam Sandoval OF
Karson Mapes P/OF
Landan Uetz 3B
Zach Steckler OF/P
Andy Young SS/P
Chance Bitzer 1B/P
Brock Evenson OF
Tanner Dahl INF/P
Tucker Bucholz C/INF
Brendan Sluke OF
Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike McFeely at (701) 241-5580.
McFeely's blog can be found at www.areavoices.com