HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The 11U Glen Allen All-Stars are heading to the Cal Ripken Babe Ruth World Series, again.
The baseball team, a part of the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association, finished in third place last summer out of 20 nationally-ranked teams.
They lost last year to Williamsburg, the team they beat this season in the state tournament to advance to the regionals in Stafford.
“The further you go in this, the better the teams get,” said head coach Scott Paccioco.
Last year, in the 10-year-old division, they had to win each tournament to advance to the World Series. However, based on their performance from last season, they are personally invited back this season.
Paccioco said this season is special.
“As a dad and a coach, those bonds made on the field are taken off the field,” said Paccioco. “They’re friends. I think they would tell you; they fight like they’re friends, play hard like they’re friends, and hang out together like they’re friends, but it’s a special group and I’m honored to coach them.”
Most of the boys have been playing together for six years. Some of them will be attending different middle schools in the fall, and they will become rivals. Even though they will be in other dugouts, they don’t expect their baseball group chats to die down.
“It’s pretty fun because we get to like talk a lot and hang out. We have a baseball group chat that we play things like blitz ball, so that’s pretty fun,” said the catcher, Griffin Tharp.
Most of the boys said the best experience about playing in the World Series, besides the hotels, is meeting people.
“It was a good experience because we met a lot of good people, and they supported us the whole way,” said Tharp.
First stop, winning the state tournament. Next, heading to Stafford to play in the Regional tournament on Wednesday.
However, all roads will lead the 11-year-olds back to Florida in August for a chance to finish what they started at the Babe Ruth World Series, with Glen Allen across their chest.