YOUTH BASEBALL: 10-year-olds heading to World Series
BEMIDJI -- Teamwork, hard work and focus has lead the Bemidji Northern Heat 10-year-olds to the Cal Ripken Baseball World Series in Jonesboro, Ark. The series will get started Saturday with Bemidji (representing the Midwest Plains Region) playing...
BEMIDJI - Teamwork, hard work and focus has lead the Bemidji Northern Heat 10-year-olds to the Cal Ripken Baseball World Series in Jonesboro, Ark.
The series will get started Saturday with Bemidji (representing the Midwest Plains Region) playing the host Jonesboro, Ark. at 3 p.m.
“We are really honored and proud to represent Bemidji at not only the regional, but now we get to do it globally,” head coach Jason Brodina said. “The team won the sportsmanship award, there are only eight given out across the country, so that’s big for us. We always say that we are going to play and act the Northern Heat way and we try and do that on and off the field.”
On the field, Bemidji is led with a strong approach to the plate.
In the Midwest Plains Regional Tournament, the Northern Heat went 5-1 by tallying 57 runs on 84 hits with a team batting average of .462.
“Every time we went up to the plate we were confident we were going to get a hit,” said Northern Heat player Nick Yavarow. “We’re confident in all our players that they are going to get up there and hit the ball well.”
Bemidji’s best game at the plate came in the biggest game, the Midwest Plains Regional Finals.
The Northern Heat beat North Platte, Neb. 14-4 in five innings thanks to a 20-hit effort.
“Our main goal was to get on base,” said fellow Northern Heat player Jonathan Devescovi. “Run the bases well and be smart. We make (the defense) make the play rather than them striking us out.”
Not only is the team rallying on the field, but the parents and community are rallying off the field.
Traveling across the state, the region and country doesn’t come without a cost and the parents and town have been quick to raise money and make sure the kids can represent Bemidji around the United States.
“Our parents and our families are excellent,” Brodina said. “We say we like to play the Northern Heat way and that goes right down to the kids, the coaches and the parents. Everybody is rallying together and this is a great group of kids and a great group of parents.”
Thanks to the parents, the kids will be able to showcase on the national stage what Bemidji baseball can do.
The Northern Heat’s bats have been impressive, but the players know they will face some stiff challenges in Arkansas.
Yavarow is looking forward to the challenge of facing some tough pitching as well as going up against solid hitters.
“I’m expecting to find very good pitchers,” he said. “There are usually three or four kids on a team that can hit the ball really hard.”
They’ll also see new teams they’ve never faced before.
Bemidji will be in the American Division and is joined by Brookfield, Conn. (New England Region), Upper Montgomery, Md. (Mid-Atlantic Region), Tri-Counties, Texas (Southwest Region) and Jonesboro, Ark. (host).
Kennewick, Wash. (Pacific Northwest Region), Manatee, Fla. (Southeast Region), Janesville, Wis. (Ohio Valley Region), Visalia, Calif. (Pacific Southwest Region) and Mountain Home, Ark. (Northern Arkansas Region) will make up the rest of the field in the National Division.
“I’m looking forward to seeing some new teams,” Devescovi said. “Watching them make plays, and some errors, will be nice.”
Bemidji has set many goals for itself during the season and it has met each one.
Brodina believes his team is still getting better and is playing its best ball of the season at the right time.
For those reasons, Brodina believes his team has a chance to be playing for a title by the end of the tournament.
“We want to go down there and compete,” he said. “When we went down to the regional tournament, I didn’t want to just show up, I wanted to compete. They are good enough to complete and our goal is to get into the bracket.”
If Bemidji can make it into the bracket, the team will have a chance to perhaps relive one of their favorite moments from the regional championship.
“It was really fun when we dumped the water jug on our coach’s head,” Yavarow said.