Cal Ripken World Series notebook

Coach hopes busy schedule pays off

Harford Co.'s Churchville has `played a lot of games'

Youth Baseball

August 14, 2004|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Chuck Jacobs, coach of Harford County champion Churchville, watched the Aberdeen entry struggle in last year's Cal Ripken World Series and learned from it.

Believing that Aberdeen was at a disadvanage because of a lack of games played, Jacobs knew that for his team to get a shot at the 12-and-under tournament and to be competitive, it meant "playing a lot of games this summer."

The Curve played in and won both the Harford County and Baltimore County travel leagues, in addition to the Cal Ripken Tournament for the District 13 title and a berth to the World Series.

Churchville, which is serving as host of the fifth annual event, opens against Raleigh, N.C., the Southeast region winner, in the feature game at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen tonight at 8.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for our players," said Jacobs, whose club will take a 30-15 overall record into tonight's game. "The kids are very excited and we should be competitive because of all the games we played."

The field dimensions of 60-foot bases and a 46-foot pitching distance should be an asset for the Curve after it played all summer on 70-foot diamonds with a distance of 50 feet from the mound to home plate.

Ace left-hander Jeff Trimmer, who will start against Raleigh tonight, hopes the closer distance will enhance his five-pitch repertoire of a fastball, curve, change-up, sinker and slider.

"We've been practing and playing on the shorter field to get ready and expect to do well," said Trimmer.

The tournament's first game begins this morning at 11, with four games to follow. Defending champion Mexico, a 13-2 winner over Hilo, Hawaii in last year's final, plays the second game at 1 p.m. vs. South Korea.

Hilo did not win the Pacific Southwest region this year. Instead, Oahu, Hawaii will be that region's representative and plays tomorrow at 1 p.m. against the Southwest champion, Pine Bluff, Ark.

There are three divisions with five teams each and the round robin format (four games) runs through Thursday.

The top two teams in both the American and National divisions will qualify for the single-elimination phase on Friday, with the survivors playing for the U.S. title.

Only one team will not make it to the elimination phase from the five-team International division.

The Cal Ripken World Series title game, pitting the U.S. and International champions, affiliated with Babe Ruth League, Inc., will be played Aug. 22 at 4 p.m.

Et cetera

Skills day at Cal Sr.'s Yard, team introductions and a home run derby were part of last night's opening ceremonies. ... The U.S. (3.30 p.m.) and International (1 p.m.) championship games next Saturday will be televised live on CN8 and InHD, and the World Series final (4 p.m.) by Fox Sports Net the next day. ... Games will be six innings long and re-entry will be allowed. Pitchers will not be allowed to throw more than six innings in any two consecutive games during pool play. When single-elimination play starts among the qualifiers, the limit on innings pitched starts over.

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