TAVARES — The City of Tavares is preparing to host the 14-under Florida Babe Ruth Baseball State Tournament from Thursday, July 22, to Sunday, July 25, at the Fred Stover Sports Complex, located at 490 E. Clifford St. in Tavares, and the North Lake Community Park, located at 40430 Roger Giles Road in Umatilla.
“This is the first year we have done this tournament, but we have hosted other large baseball tournaments before,” said Scott Aldrich, Recreation Project Manager for the City of Tavares. “We are basically doing two tournaments in one: a north division at North Lake Community Park and a south division at Fred Stover Sports Complex.”
The winners in both divisions will move on to the Babe Ruth Baseball Regional Tournament being held in Demopolis, Ala., during the first week of August. Winners of the regional tournament have a chance to compete nationally at the Babe Ruth World Series in Purcellville, Va. The state tournament is double elimination with each team playing at least two games. Admission is free to the public at both complexes.
The 14-under Florida Babe Ruth Baseball State Tournament includes 13 teams from all over the state, including a local Tavares team, which won its district tournament on June 19 to advance to state play. Game times begin each day at 9:30 a.m. and the Tavares team will play its first game on Thursday at 12 p.m. Players on the Tavares team include Austin Baskette, Austin Clayton, Phillip Cooper, Wesley Danielson, Zachary Davis, Kyle Fowler, Anthony Holguin, Garrett Payne, Connor Urbon, Dalton Wells, Josh Wicker and Cory Lonsdale.
“As far as Babe Ruth goes, this is the fourth time that Tavares has earned its way into the state,” said Wade Payne, who manages the team with assistant coaches Artie Baskette and Marv Danielson. “The 13-under and the 14-under teams both won their way into the state this year. The 13-under team will play in the state tournament in Jupiter, Fla., during the same weekend.”
While several teams participating in the 14-under Florida Babe Ruth Baseball State Tournament are located nearby, such as Ocala, Longwood and Palatka, others from Jacksonville, Sarasota and Tallahassee will need to stay overnight at local accommodations.
“Many area hotels are already booked for the event,” said Greg Mihalic, Director of Lake County Tourism & Business Relations. “With sporting events, the entire area benefits as these players, coaches and families will be staying in local accommodations, shopping at stores and eating at area restaurants.”
For more information about the 14-under Florida Babe Ruth Baseball State Tournament, call Scott Aldrich at (352) 742-6477 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Lake County vacations, call (800) 430-LAKE, log on to www.lakecountyfl.com or visit the Welcome Center, located at 20763 U.S. Highway 27 in Groveland.