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Originally published: 2014-03-14 10:23:31
Last modified: 2014-03-14 14:04:01

Cal Ripken baseball returns to Watauga

by Staff Reports

Mount Vernon Baptist Church will be hosting the Equip Sports Ministry Spring Cal Ripken Baseball League 2014 in Watauga County.

The league begins March 24 and ends on May 24. The registration is $35 and ends March 21.

It's the third season that the Cal Ripken league will be held in Watauga County. Eric Henderson, the Recreation Ministry Director of the Mount Vernon Baptist Church and the director of the league, said there were 16 teams in four different age brackets last year.

Teams are comprised of players from Watauga County and from other counties.

"We are expecting at least four 11-12 teams and four 9-10 teams," Henderson said. "We also have four machine pitch teams and five or six t-ball teams. People are starting to find out about it. We're adding field and coaches who are growing with it."

There are four divisions of play including:

* T-ball for players 5-6

* Rookie league (machine pitch) for players aged 7-8

* Minor League for players aged 9-10

*Major 70 lead for players 11-12

The minor league for players aged 9-10 has a pitching distance of 46 feet and base paths of 60 feet. The Major 70 League has a pitching distance of 50 feet and base paths of 70 feet.

There are also All-Star dates, which involve all-star teams from each division playing in the Western North Carolina Cal Ripken Tournament. Those start April 14 and end when the teams are eliminated from the tournament.

All-star teams will also participate in preseason tournament trial tournaments around the state. The all-star teams are chosen before the regular season after the preseason tournaments.

There is a local postseason all-star tournament, a state all-star tournament and a regional tournament. A team from the eastern North Carolina and western North Carolina are chosen for the regional.

The top three teams from each tournament advance to the next one.

Henderson said the Cal Ripken is a division of Babe Ruth Baseball.

Players can sign up either at Mount Vernon Baptist Church or online at