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YOUTH BASEBALL: Teams hit Elizabethtown one step away from World Series (07/18)

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By Chuck Jones

 

By CHUCK JONES cjones@thenewsenterprise.com ELIZABETHTOWN — Baseball and Elizabethtown. The Elizabethtown Area Baseball Commission thinks that is the perfect combination as the league is set to the host the 12-year-old 50/70 Cal Ripken Ohio Valley Regional Tournament, which begins next Friday. The double-elimination tournament, which is July 25-29, will be held at Sonny Chaput Field at University Park. The Ohio Valley Regional Tournament is one of the 10 regional qualifiers across the United States. The winner of the tournament advances to the Cal Ripken World Series, which will be held in Aberdeen, Md. Teams are comprised of All-Stars from sanctioned Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken baseball programs. Teams qualify for the tournament by winning their respective district and state tournaments. Teams in the Ohio Valley Region are West Kentucky, East Kentucky, Northern Indiana, Southern Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and West Virginia. Elizabethtown is an automatic qualifier because it serves as the host of the event. Schererville, Ind., and Springfield, Ohio, have earned bids to the tournament. “This tournament will showcase talented baseball players that received most of their development through the Cal Ripken baseball program,” EABC president Don Hill said. Cal Ripken Baseball offers two programs for the 11- and 12-year-old divisions. The standard 46/60 sanctioned baseball is still offered in many programs across the United States. However, this is only the second year in which Cal Ripken Baseball has offered the 50/70 format as well. The 50/70 format is where the pitching mound is set at 50 feet from home plate and the bases are 70 feet apart. Rules are more comparable to higher levels of baseball, where runners can leadoff, pitchers throw from the stretch and can balk and batters can advance to first base on a dropped third strike. “We made the decision last year to move our 11- and 12-year-old program to the 50/70 format because we thought it was in the best interest of the kids,” Hill said. “Kids want more instruction and more advanced opportunities and we thought this was a better, progressive step to take.” Elizabethtown’s 12-year-old team played in the 50/70 Ohio Valley Regional in Lexington last year, while the 11-year-old team played in the 50/70 Ohio Valley Regional in Mount Sterling. Chuck Jones can be reached at 505-1759