Youth Baseball in Kennewick Still Breathing, For Now
You've probably heard the Little League World Series as well as their Regional Championships, have been cancelled, and will resume in 2021.
However, the 'other' large national/international baseball/softball governing body has not thrown in the towel.
Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth baseball, as of Friday May 1, still hopeful there is a way to play games, and if possible, conduct regional championships and it's World Series.
Babe Ruth Baseball Inc. is the oversight body for the baseball played in Kennewick and in various leagues in the Pacific Northwest, national and internationally. One of their 'branches' is Cal Ripken Youth Baseball. Kennewick National and Kennewick American leagues are Cal Ripken. Cal Ripken is for youth 5-6--12, Babe Ruth is 12-13 on up.
This letter was issued by Steve Tellefson, President/CEO of Babe Ruth Baseball:
"Babe Ruth League, Inc has always been deeply committed to providing all of our participants with the very best educational sports experience possible in a safe and enjoyable environment. We thank you for your patience, understanding, and support as we navigate through these unparalleled times.
It is the goal of Babe Ruth League, Inc. to achieve a complete 2020 local league season so everyone can participate in the game they love. It remains our hope that once permission is granted by state and local health officials, we’ll return to our community fields and play as much baseball and softball as we can for the remainder of the 2020 year. We’ll be encouraging our commissioners to extend local league play into the summer and fall months in order to permit a full season for everyone.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, timelines are now flexible. Commissioners in your state will work with league presidents to discuss if and when district and state tournaments can take place.
Information regarding Regional Tournaments and World Series dates and locations will be forthcoming as we explore other opportunities and formats in the next several weeks once our leagues get back up and running.
Until we meet again on the diamond, we ask you to focus on the guidelines set by local, state and federal governments to make sure we all do our part to ensure the health, well-being and safety of our players, families, volunteers and fans.
Be sure to stay connected with Babe Ruth League through our email, social media and websites for the most up to date information."
Richland, Pasco, and Walla Walla are Little League organizations, although they play Kennewick teams in tournaments all over the region. The biggest difference between the two is that Cal Ripken divides players more closely to age instead of having 9-10 year olds' on teams with 12 year olds and 13- turning-13.
KN and KA would have started play beginning of April were it not for COVID-19.
Cal Ripken also offers what's called Major 70 foot baseball, in which stealing home, pickoffs, rundowns etc. are allowed. The only difference between Major 70 and HS, College and MLB is the base and home plate distance from mound. The rest of full tilt ball. 70 instead of 90 foot bases and 50 feet mound to plate. This allows kids 10-11-12 (and even very good 9 year olds) to play full scale baseball. Both KN and KA have Major 70 divisions.
Little League plays 60 foot bases, no lead offs, no stealing until ball crosses the plate. No stealing home unless the ball gets past the catcher (Passed ball), and no lead-offs until ball is pitched. So you rarely see pickoffs, rundowns, or bunt/squeeze/sacrifice plays.