Babe Ruth changes could lead to more competitive teams

June 24, 2002|By JONATHAN DALE, Sports Writer

Changes made to the Imperial Valley District 7 Babe Ruth leagues could increase the possibility of an Imperial Valley team's appearance in the Babe Ruth World Series.

Last year's four existing leagues — Northend, Imperial, Sunset and El Centro — agreed to integrate into the Northend and Southend leagues. The decision came when some Valley cities failed to produce their own leagues.

According to Babe Ruth District 7 Commissioner Gene Mendoza, if a town cannot field at least four separate teams, they cannot have a league.

The former Sunset league, made up of teams from both Holtville and Calexico, has joined El Centro to form the Southend league. Meanwhile, Imperial joined the Northend league, which already consisted of teams from Calipatria, Westmorland, Niland and Brawley.


To decide which team will advance to the state tournaments this year, Mendoza has set up three best two-out-of-three tournaments, one for each age group (13-year-olds, 13-15-year-olds and 14-year-olds). They will pit an all-star team from each of the Northend and Southend leagues against each other.

"People from each town felt that by combining into two leagues, the Imperial Valley would be more competitive outside of the Valley," explained Mendoza.

The 13-year-old group will play July 5-7 at the Imperial High School baseball field, with the 13-15-year-olds playing July 8-10 at Stark Field in El Centro and the 14-year-olds from July 11-13 at Weist Field in Brawley. Each of the games will start at 7 p.m.

The winner of the 13-year-old tournament will report to Simi Valley on July 12 for the state tournament. The 13-15-year-old winner will go to El Segundo on July 15, while the champion of the 14-year-old tournament will appear in La Crescenta on July 19.

Mendoza also stated that the seven teams that make up the 16-18-year-old Babe Ruth league in the Valley will combine their best players to form both the 16-year-old and 16-18-year-old teams that will represent the Valley in the state tournaments. The 16-year-old team will report to Northview High School in Azuza as the 16-18-year-olds go to Arcadia High School in Arcadia. Both teams will begin play July 13.

Another addition to the Imperial Valley District 7 plate this year is the introduction of two Valley-wide District 7 city tournaments.

Mendoza explained there will be one tournament for the 13-year-old division, which will be played at Weist Field, and one tournament for the 14-15-year-old division, played at Imperial High. Both tournaments will pit five Imperial Valley teams against each other, one team per city, with each team being made up of its city's all-stars.

The tournaments will start Tuesday with the 13 tournament featuring Imperial vs. Calexico at 6 p.m. and Holtville taking on Brawley at 8:30 p.m. The winner of the Holtville-Brawley game will then face El Centro at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The 14-15 tournament will pit Calexico against El Centro at 6 p.m. and Holtville against Imperial at 8:30 p.m., both on Tuesday. The winner of the Holtville-Imperial game will play Brawley at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

The prize for winning the tournaments? Pride.

"The winner of the city tournament basically gets bragging rights for the Valley," Mendoza said.

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