Brookfield gears up for 12U Cal Ripken World Series

July 27, 2017 GMT

Branson, Missouri isn’t typically a destination vacation spot for those in the Northeast. But for the families of the Brookfield Barracudas 12U Cal Ripken team, spending a week there has been the goal all summer.

Brookfield is continuing last-minute preparations to participate in the Cal Ripken World Series, which takes place in Branson August 3-10.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help support the families as they make the trek to Missouri. Planning a trip of this magnitude at the last moment — flights, hotels, time off work — is often an overlooked part of a deep postseason run.

“It hasn’t quite sunk in for the families because we have to make arrangements,” Brookfield coach Rocco Miceli said. “Once that’s all done they’ll be able to enjoy it. You can’t go into any tournament expecting to win; it kind of happened. No plans were made at that point; it’s all just thrust upon you.”


Once they touch down in Missouri, the Barracudas will test their skills against some of the top programs in the world. Twenty-four teams — 16 from the United States and teams from Japan, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, New Zealand, South Korea, Canada, Mexico and Australia — will begin pool play, which consist of three games. That is followed by a single-elimination tournament to determine the world champ.

Brookfield competed at the 10U World Series, posting a 1-3 record. The Barracudas are the lone team from that event to qualify at 12U.

“One of the special parts about this group of kids is that we’ve been together for five summers now,” Miceli said. “One more summer together is what they want; the bond off the field is as strong as the one on it.”

This summer’s spot was far from an easy ride, though, as Brookfield had to dodge several tough opponents. The most difficult assignment came in the state final, when the Barracudas overcame a 7-1 deficit against Hebron before rallying to win 11-10. Brookfield also won a New England regional game by a run before edging Franklin (Mass.) 4-3 in the title game.

Everyone on the roster has contributed in some fashion, particularly in the lineup. Caden Borges, Ryan Sanborn, Casey Katz, Jake Miceli and Kyle Rosa have all delivered key hits during this season’s run.

“Because we’ve played so many tight games, somebody different always steps up in big spot makes a huge play or has a huge hit,” Miceli said. “It’s fun because you can’t single out one or two players.”

On the mound, Cameron Cole, Chris Catania, Casey Katz and Matt Guilbeault form a strong quartet of pitchers, though others will be counted on due to the schedule. Brookfield plays three games in consecutive games at the World Series.

For a team that’s used to — and perhaps expected to — winning, the Barracudas plan on enjoying the moment.

“The first year was stressful,” Catania said. “Each year kept coming by and it just felt more relaxed being up there and playing in tough situations. The thing I’m looking forward to the most is getting all that gear; it’s going to be awesome.”,