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STAMFORD BABE RUTH BASEBALL 13s

July 3, 2018 GMT

STAMFORD—The Stamford Babe Ruth Baseball 13-year-old All-Stars continue on their quest for an excellent summer adventure this weekend as they’ve qualified for the Connecticut Babe Ruth Baseball 13YO State Tournament in Newtown.

As District 1 champion Stamford will be part of an eight-team, double-elimination bracket. Host Newtown will begin the Tournament proceedings with a game Friday night. Stamford starts its journey Saturday at 10 a.m. at High Meadow Baseball Field against District 3 champ Milford.

Stamford earned its spot in the 13YO state tournament by defeating Darien last week in a best two-out-of-three series for the District 1 title.

Stamford lost the opener, 15-0. But it came back to post victories of 3-0 and 6-2 to grab the crown.

“Age 13 is a hard age in youth baseball. The kids are coming from the smaller field (outfield fences at 210 feet) to playing on the regulation diamond with 90-foot basepaths and distant outfield fences (320-to-350 feet),” said Stamford Babe Ruth assistant coach Brian Maloney. “The idea now is to pitch well, play defense and try to win games 3-1. You’re not going to be able to outslug opponents 10-8 on a consistent basis.”

The Stamford Babe Ruth 13s will have a 14-player roster. Damon Harper, Jared Maloney, Max Beldotti, Diego Wirz, John Ryan Dowling, Kevin Musace, Eric Osterhus, Robert Ruiz, Miles Aquila, Charlie Karukas (a talented female player who can pitch), Jake Prieto, Chris Bawden, Josh Young and Billy Saunders have accepted the state tournament challenge.

“We had a solid regular season, playing about 15 games. We won the Extreme Baseball Tourney in Norwalk and performed well at the Branford Tournament,” said Stamford Babe Ruth 13YO manager John Calo. “We played games in Westchester County using wood bats. We’ve faced many different talent levels. These kids aren’t fazed by any opponent. They just go out and play the game.”

Calo, Maloney, veteran assistant coach Buddy Moynihan and assistant coach Gary Harper (analytics, opponent tendancies, scorebook, stats) enjoy working with this 13 year old age group.

“I’ve coached all age groups of Stamford Babe Ruth baseball over the years. I enjoy the teachable moments. At this age, the kids are like sponges absorbing information,” Calo said. “It’s a great coaching staff of teachers. With a great staff, you trust and delegate.”

In 13-year-old baseball, it’s about small ball. It’s about manufacturing runs. It’s about revealing a new world of pitch selection, hit-and-run, bunting and inside baseball.

“The kids have faced a lot of different situations. They never quit. They always give their best effort,” Calo said. “We coach to see the ‘A-Ha Moments!’ with each player. We want to see them build a foundation for success that carries into high school baseball and perhaps college baseball.”

As for the state tournament, Stamford Babe Ruth 13s have the same question the New York Yankees ask over their 162-game season.

“Will we have enough pitching arms?” said coach Maloney, who is Stamford’s pitching coach. “The luck of the draw in the bracket will help as well. The bottom line, though, is we’ll play to our strengths and see what happens.”

rdepreta@stamfordadvocate.com