The Clovis Cal Ripken All-Star 8U team is on its way to compete in the Long Beach Regional Tournament after its second-place finish in the state championship.
The team of eight 8-year-olds and four 7-year-olds defeated the Tulare Cal Ripken team to advance to the finals in the State Championship, but lost to the Hanford team in a high-scoring 14-8 championship game.
The regional tourney, which hosts teams from as far as Hawaii and Guam, is set to take place July 14-20, where the Clovis team will face its first three opponents: Utah South, Utah North and Northern California.
In the tournament, 12 teams are split into pools of four teams, out of which the top two teams will advance to a bracket-style elimination round.
“I’ve been proud of their tenacity and their resilience,” said Josh Rathbone, the team’s coach. “We’ve had several games and tournaments where we’ve been down..and they do not lose their fight.”
Rathbone said he is looking forward to the kids and their families enjoying the tournament experience.
“They set up a lot of activities, like trading gift bags with the other teams,” Rathbone said. “It’s going to be a fun time for the kids and something they’ll always remember.”
The team is currently fundraising for its trip to Long Beach. For information on how to help the team, visit the Clovis Babe Ruth Facebook page.