The 9U and 10U travel baseball squads proudly represented the Marlboro Youth Baseball and Softball Association (MYBSA) at the Cal Ripken Baseball World Series this summer.
The 9U squad finished as one of the final three teams in its tournament and the 10U team battled back after a slow start to reach the championship game of its consolation bracket.
“It was phenomenal for the kids, the town and the entire league,” Marlboro 9U manager Dave Gagliano said. “There were a lot of memories made that are going to last for a long time.”
The 9U team traveled to Treasure Coast, Fla., to compete in the Cal Ripken Baseball World Series that took place from July 31 through Aug. 6.
Marlboro went 1-2 in pool play and was one of the six teams that advanced to compete in a double-elimination tournament to decide the national champion. After losing to JCB Diamond Kings of St. Johns, Fla., Marlboro was one loss away from elimination.
The adversity did not phase the players, who rebounded in their next two games.
Marlboro defeated South Fort Myers, Fla., 4-3, to stay alive in the tournament and then defeated JCB Diamond Kings, 12-5, in a rematch to keep its national championship hopes alive.
“It was extremely enjoyable and very satisfying to sit back and watch the kids execute playing baseball on the field,” Gagliano said. “I think they had a lot of fun out there playing the sport they love.”
Marlboro’s run in the World Series came to an end against the Arlington Storm as the locals lost to the Virginia squad, 9-5.
Making it to the final three teams of the tournament is something Gagliano sees as a “silver lining” for his team.
Having coached the players for three years, Gagliano has seen them grow by leaps and bounds and believes the experience of playing in the World Series will help them as they move forward at the 10U level.
“We want to try and keep this group together and look to win a national championship next year,” he said.
The 9U team finished 4-4 at the World Series.
The 10U Cal Ripken Baseball World Series was held in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., from Aug 6-14.
Marlboro had a rough start, going 1-3 in pool play, and was placed in the Iron Man consolation bracket.
Despite not qualifying for the winner’s bracket to have a chance to win a national title, the players continued to compete hard on the diamond.
Marlboro 10U manager Matthew Granese and his coaching staff were pleased with how the players grew together during the tournament, saying the players were “fabulous” and got better from start to finish.
“We got on a bit of a hot streak at the end,” Granese said. “Our guys competed hard in every game. We got better from the start of the week to the end of the week.”
Marlboro recorded two one-run victories to begin play in the Iron Man bracket. In the opener against Central Ozarks, Marlboro won 7-6 to advance to the semifinals.
Sharp pitching and good defense helped Marlboro advance to the finals of the Iron Man bracket with a 2-1 victory over Westside.
In the consolation bracket championship game against Willamette Valley, Ore., Marlboro lost 5-1 and finished its trip to the World Series with a 3-4 record.
Overall, Granese said the players performed well against outstanding teams from around the country on a big stage.
He said he is looking forward to building upon what he called a “great” experience with his players as they prepare to advance to the 11U level with a 50-foot pitching mound and 70-foot base paths.
“We truly competed against the 20 best teams from around the country,” Granese said. “We felt like we stacked up well against every team we played and had a chance to win any game. We had a great trip.”