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It's Official: Major Youth Baseball Tournament Coming to Seminole in July

10 Y.O. Ripken Southwest Regional to be Held at Seminole Sports Complex
Dustin Wright
Monday, January 28, 2019
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Seminole Mayor John Belcher (left) signs a contract while Rob Featherston, Regional Commissioner for Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Baseball (center) and Seminole Cal Ripken League President Wesley Hice (right) look on during a signing ceremony held Saturday at Seminole's City Hall. The contract signing ceremony finalized a deal between the local league and it's parent organization to host the upcoming 2019 10 Year Old Cal Ripken League Southwest Regional Tournament at the City of Seminole's Sports Complex. (Sentinel Photo)

The ink has barely dried, but some in the Seminole community are abuzz as one of the nation's most recognized youth baseball organizations will see a major tournament being held locally beginning on July 11.

This past Saturday, officials representing Cal Ripken Baseball -- a division of Babe Ruth League, Inc. -- the Seminole chapter of Cal Ripken Baseball and the City of Seminole officially signed paperwork signifying that the City of Seminole's Youth Sports Complex will play host to the 2019 10-Year-Old Southwest Regional Tournament.

The tournament will feature among 10 of the best youth baseball teams from Cal Ripken's Southwest Regional division, which includes the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.  

Tournament play is anticipated to run from Thursday, July 11 through Tuesday, July 16 at the City of Seminole's Youth Sports Complex. The tournament winner will advance to the Cal Ripken 10-Year-Old Division World Series, which will be held in Phenix City, Ala. beginning on Aug. 1.With Seminole serving as the host team, the 2019 Seminole Cal Ripken Baseball League's 10-Year-Old All-Star team -- once selected upon the completion of the league's regular season play later this fall -- will receive an automatic bid for the Southwest Regional Tournament.

Festivities associated with the roughly week-long event will begin with a pre-tournament banquet on the evening of Wednesday, July 10 at the City of Seminole's Conference Center.

Rob Featherston, Regional Commissioner for Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Baseball, shared in the excitement of Seminole's recent announcement as a regional tournament host site before a small crowd of local business and community leaders during Saturday's signing ceremony, held at Seminole's City Hall.

"We love bringing Cal Ripken Baseball to West Texas," said Featherston in an address to the crowd in attendance prior to Saturday's signing. "It just seems like it means more to the folks out here when we have an event such as this."

Featherston said he drove through the Seminole community last summer while conducting Cal Ripken Baseball league business and was "impressed" with the town and the Seminole Youth Sports Complex, owned and maintained by the City of Seminole.

"I pulled over and put in the complex's address into Google maps because I new we had a league here," said Featherston. "When I pulled up to the complex, I remember saying: 'Wow.' You folks have some great facilities. We're glad this has worked out and I can already tell this is going to be a really good tournament."

Wesley Hice, president of the Seminole charter of Cal Ripken Baseball, told those in attendance of Saturday's contract signing that it has been a goal of the current 13 members of the local baseball board to host a regional tournament for the past several years.

"We're excited and we appreciate the support of everyone in our community for what they do for this league, and more importantly, the youth of this town," said Hice. 

Mayor John Belcher said he, too, was excited about the opportunity of the Seminole community hosting the regional tournament and to showcase what the town has to offer.

"When the board (Seminole Cal Ripken League board) came to the City to tell us about this opportunity, we got excited," said Belcher. "It will be great for our economy, it will be great for our community, but when it comes down to it, it will be great for the youth who will have this unique opportunity."

Belcher added it will take a great community effort to put the tournament together, but was optimistic the goal would be accomplished. 

"It's going to take the whole community to put this thing together and to make it successful, but we have got a great start and we have a great board (Cal Ripken League) that's working on it," said Belcher, who also urged local businesses to help assist. "So, when these guys come to you, don't say 'no.' I'll tell you like my preacher says: 'No is not an answer. It's what can I do?' We are going to have a lot of people coming here and it's going to be a chance for all of us to shine, and we are all excited about that."