"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 has an opening round bye and will see its first action Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Monty Reedy Field against the winner of a game between Guam and host Bakersfield. Teams from Central California (Madera), Hawaii (Oahu), Nevada (South Lake Tahoe), Arizona (Yuma) and Utah South (Piute) and Southern California 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.''
The Palo Alto Babe Ruth 15U all-stars completed the unlikely comeback by winning five straight games, including two over Bel Mateo 2-1 and 7-1 on the final day.
"We really had no expectations,'' Guiragossian said. "We never focused on winning the tournament, just took it day by day. We were carefree and loose. Literally every kid on the team had some clutch moments. It was kind of magical. Every time we thought our luck was running out someone would step up.''
Colin Thiebault was named the tournament's MVP.
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