The last nine days have been unbelievable! So many life long memories were created on this trip, but the funny thing is, many of the memories have very little to do with Softball. Although, the World Series experience happened over the last nine days or so, the experience started for me the Sunday of the New England Regional championship game. I’ll always remember how many 10U families stayed behind to watch the girls play and cheer them on. Many of them tired and wanting to go home, but they stayed. Cheering like it was their own kids playing. It meant a lot to me and the other coaches. After the girls won, I’ll always remember the support that friends, family, and the community gave us to help raise money to fund the trip. The amount of support was overwhelming and humbling. The days leading up to us leaving seemed to be filled with endless e-mails and texts. Everyone was looking to help. All this made us feel they were just as excited and proud of the girls as we were. So many things that happened over those few days has made me want to be a better person and friend. I’ll never forget the support we received!
I’ll always remember the things that took place during our trip. Delayed or cancelled flights, forgetting softball bags at the airport, Movie Theater catching on fire, 3 hour hamburger dinner, a trip to the urgent care, a coach striking out during practice, fighting over the hotel laundry machine and many other so called “catastrophes”. I’ll always remember waiting in line at the opening ceremonies watching our girls having fun with the team from North Carolina. Comparing accents and laughing at each other. I’ll always remember the spontaneous dance party that took place with all the girls after the ceremony. Girls from all over the country, getting along and just having fun!
Once the games started, yes there were wins and losses. Ups and downs. There was also sitting in the dugout with another team singing songs during a rain delay. I’ll always remember how after we played a team, win or lose, they next day when the girls saw that team it was like they had always been friends. Always wishing each other luck. Always smiling! I’ll always remember how girls from other teams would watch our games and cheer for our girls. Not just cheer, but do OUR cheers! How can girls from Oregon not know how to pronounce Raynham one day and the next day know all our cheers by heart? I’ll always remember the support from the people back in Raynham. Whether it was a Facebook comment, text, e-mail, or phone call, it was always positive and enthusiastic. I’ll always remember that final day of games and how many people watched back home. The girls will remember playing at 1:00am; I’ll always remember how many people stayed up and watched them play at 1:00am. Again, for most people, these were not their daughters, but they supported them like they were.
I’m sure over time, the memory of that final win and the many, many other wins that preceded that game over the last few years will fade away. What I’ll remember most will be the little things. Like walking in a parking lot after practice and having a player grab my arm and put it around her for no other reason than “just because”. Having another player quietly ask me for a hug after the final game because I forgot to give her one. Having parents and grandparents thanking me for what I had done for their daughter/granddaughter over the years. Celebrating with the other coaches on the field knowing our time and effort all these years lead to an unforgettable experience for the girls. Getting to spend hours upon hours with my daughters on and off the field, celebrating the highs and dusting off from the lows. Having my wife, who can’t even throw a softball, be there every step of the way. Always knowing, all this time given to softball over the years had very little to do about softball and more about spending time with my daughters and my adopted “softball daughters”. Making our dreams, her dreams. These are the things I will remember years from now. Not the wins, not the losses. All the little things.
This was My World Series Experience. I will always remember it.
- Bill Jacques, Raynham, Massachusetts
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to umpire my first Babe Ruth World Series. The experience was extremely rewarding. In spite of the inclement weather I truly enjoyed the entire series and especially the camaraderie of my umpiring team.
At the kick-off banquet many speakers emphasized to the players and their families that they should cherish the moments because they will remember them for the rest of their lives; and not just the baseball moments, but the entire experience.
The 14 Year Old Babe Ruth World Series will always stand out in my memory not only for the umpiring experience, but for a special reunion I had on Wednesday's semi-final day. Unbeknownst to me until that day, a former hometown, Campbell, Ohio native, who I had coached in high school football in Ohio, had a son, Max Macajlo, playing for the Tri-Valley, CA team. We hadn't seen or spoken to each other in over 35 years. By chance, we met again in an unlikely place, Westfield, MA. We met up after the championship game and took the attached photo. I can truly attest that Babe Ruth Baseball brings more to people's lives than just the baseball.
Thank you for this opportunity, and hopefully I will be able to umpire another World Series in the near future.
Joe Vaschak, Westfield, Massachusetts
Joe Vaschak, Linda, Max, and Mike Macajlo
Board Member/Midwest Plains Regional Commissioner Tim Kuntz Recalls the 2016 Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old World Series hosted by Ottumwa, Iowa.
It was poised to be the biggest sporting event the city of Ottumwa has, perhaps, ever hosted. It was 13 months of hard work on the field, to the fields and certainly away from the fields.
There’s no question that the 2016 Babe Ruth World Series had plenty of fanfare leading up to the 13-Year-Old Baseball tournament, which took over the entire city of Ottumwa. By the time the final out was recorded, and the final fireworks started going off, the Ottumwa newspapers’ top sports stories of 2016 left a lasting impression on those who were part of the fun.
Just as any other quality baseball tournament, one big pitch and one big swing brought about the final outcome of a thrilling two weeks in Ottumwa for the Babe Ruth World Series. Mifflin County’s Colby Bodtorf fired a high fastball past the swing of Pearl City’s Lee Matsuzaki to complete a dramatic 5-3 championship win for the boys from Lewistown, Pennsylvania, as well as a successful nine days for the city of Ottumwa as the over-the-top host of what proved to be an incredible youth baseball tournament.
“There’s only one word that come to mind when you get to end and you see all the events that have gone on with this tournament, and that’s ‘Wow!’ said Tim Kuntz about Mifflin County’s championship celebration and the fireworks show to mark the official end to the tournament. “We’ve been treated to some fantastic baseball. These young men have all played their hearts out. Everyone battled to very end. All 10 teams were considered champions and we truly appreciated their efforts.”
Mifflin County’s championship win was just the latest example of what compelling postseason baseball is all about. Of the 25 games played in the Babe Ruth World Series, 16 were decided by four runs or less with 14 of those games being determined in the sixth inning or later.
The work of the teams on the field, led by the championship resolve of Mifflin County, was topped only by the hours and hours put in by the city of Ottumwa to host one of the biggest tournaments to come to the City of Bridges. The hard work of Ottumwa’s World Series Task Force and the multitude of volunteers, bat boys, diamond girls and so many others was not lost on those representing Babe Ruth Baseball at the highest level.
“The entire community of Ottumwa deserves to be recognized for everything they did. They welcomed all of us to their community with open arms,” Kuntz said. “We know there were a lot of sacrifices made, but there were so many people to make the long trip out here and had so many positives comments about their experience this week.
“We all had a wonderful time. Ottumwa really rolled out the red carpet for us.”