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Community Support Helps Make Cal Ripken World Series a Winner in Hammond

The six months leading to the Cal Ripken 10-Year-Old World Series in Hammond, Indiana he six months leading to the Cal Ripken 10-year-old World Series in Hammond were the most stressful for Doyle Godbolt.

That's how long Godbolt, the chairman of the Hammond Optimist World Series committee, worked his contacts around the city looking for sponsors, hiring staff and getting college-bound students to volunteer.

Godbolt and his team raised a little more than $65,000. He was finally able to take a sigh of relief when the 10-team tournament wrapped up with West Raleigh, N.C. beating Pearl City, Hawaii 7-3 for the championship.

Crown Point downed West Hartford, Connecticut, 12-5 to win the Iron Bracket consolation final.

Two more local teams, the Hammond Optimist Bulldogs and St. John, each reached the championship bracket semifinals before being eliminated.

"Probably the most difficult things during this process was securing sponsors," Godbolt said. "Securing sponsors that maybe aren't familiar with the activity that goes on in the park was the challenge. During the 10 days that the tournament goes on, it generates approximately a quarter to a half million in revenue.

“It costs us approximately $65,000 to host the World Series,” Godbolt said.  “$45,000 is the hosting fee paid to Babe Ruth League, and the other $20,000 was used for miscellaneous items such as administrative costs, advertising, lodging, entertainment, transportation, managers breakfast, banquet, opening ceremonies, etc.   Babe Ruth League uses the $45,000 host fee to pay for travel, meals and lodging expense for the World Series Task Force and umpire crew, as well as to pay for the travel expense for all participating teams.”

Godbolt appreciated the support of local businesses. He credited the city of Hammond for donating some of its casino revenue to help fund the tournament.

The unions in Hammond were great help, too, Godbolt said.

Not all donations were monetary. The freshly painted blue dugouts were done for free by the city's painters. The buildings were also power-washed for free.

"With all the local help, it gives you great sense of pride to see your local children compete at a sporting event at this level," Godbolt said. "It brings more local people to your event, which helps offset some of the expenses. It's a big pride and joy. The children that competed knew years in advance we were going to have this event here, and they've worked hard up until this point."

Godbolt has been involved with youth sports for more than 35 years and with the Optimist baseball program since 2001.

This is the second Cal Ripken World Series hosted by the Optimist organization; in 2013, Crown Point won the 12-year-old title after beating the Optimists 3-2 in the semifinals.

"That was a proud moment for us," Godbolt said. "In the semifinal, we knew at least one local team would make it to the finals. Kids are constantly showing they can compete at the national level."

The tournaments move around annually, but each organization knows when it'll host the tournament at least two to three years in advance.

With two events in the books, Godbolt hopes to bring another World Series to Hammond.

 

Hammond Rep Picture

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