Palo Alto makes unexpected trip to Babe Ruth Regional

Palo Alto's 15U all-star team opens the Pacific Southwest Region Babe Ruth baseball tournament on Monday in Taft. Photo courtesy of Ron Fried.

They didn't expect this.

The Palo Alto Babe Ruth 13-15 all-stars surprised everyone, most of all themselves, by winning the Northern California tournament last week in Belmont.

After the last game had concluded, the team's second win of the day and fifth in a row after falling into the loser's bracket, the impact of what the team accomplished hadn't quite sunk in.

"The reality is that Palo Alto Babe Ruth is community based, like Little League,'' Palo Alto coach Vosken Guiragossian said. "We call it the next league. Competing against travel teams there were really no expectations.''

In most years Palo Alto wouldn't have even been included in the NorCal tournament.

"Bel-Mateo beat us handily in the district tournament,'' Guiragossian said.

But since Bel-Mateo was the host team for the NorCals, a second team from the district (Palo Alto) was included. And then they win the whole shebang, beating Bel-Mateo twice the final day.

Now the team's summertime season has been extended, again.

The team heads to Taft for the Pacific Southwest 13-15 Babe Ruth Tournament. Palo Alto gets into action Monday at 1 p.m. at Monty Reedy Field against the Southern California champion. Teams from Central California, Hawaii, Guam, Nevada, Arizona, Utah North, Utah South and host Bakersfield comprise the rest of the field.

One slight problem. Since Palo Alto had no expectation of advancing this far, families had already made vacation plans. Guiragossian said that of the 15-player roster that won the NorCal championship, only eight were still available to travel to Taft.

Among the seven players who were unavailable were two of the team's primary pitchers. The remainder of the roster had to be filled with players from the 14-year-old all-stars.

"We're having to do a lot of juggling,'' Guiragossian said. "But we'll be OK.''

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