Local All-Stars treated like stars during international trip

Matthew Gourlie
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The Moose Jaw Little League Minor AAA All-Stars had quite a summer.

The local team of 10- and 11-year-old baseball players recently returned from international competition in Chadron, Neb. They finished with a 1-3 record at the Babe Ruth League Midwest Plains Regional Tournament in the 10-year-old Cal Ripken Division.

"It was a lot of fun. They did a really good job of hosting it," said Mike McCubbing, one of the coaches on the Minor AAA All-Star team. "Those cities that host Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken tournaments are always excited when Canada comes down. It's always a good treat for the kids and teams love playing us."

The tournament featured teams from Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota and the hosts from Chadron. The town of Chadron threw a parade to kickoff the tournament and gave the Canadians the honour of leading it. That was just one of the many little touches that made the event so special for the local players.

The All-Stars qualified for the tournament after hosting the provincial Minor AAA tournament. They had a week to get organized and raise some money to help pay for the two-day drive to the tournament and their week stay in Nebraska. 

The team was blown away by the community support that backed their young baseball players.

"These kids can't thank those people enough. The amount of support we got was beyond measure," said McCubbing. "Pretty much the entire city backed us. It was incredible."

The All-Stars represented the city, the province and the country with class. They finished the tournament by winning the Norm & Colleen Travis sportsmanship award.

"Overall I'm impressed with how the kids played," said McCubbing. "We tried to keep them with a positive attitude — when errors happened, to let them go and move on to the next thing — and they did a really good of that. Whether we would have gone 4-0 or 0-4 I would have been proud of them the whole way."

The All-Stars had to adapt to a heat wave when they arrived. The temperature was in the 40s when they arrived and it was 36C during their opening game.

"With the competition that was down there and how our team was, we could have done better," said McCubbing. "We played awesome defence, our batting just suffered. It wasn't due to talented pitching on their part, we just couldn't get it going for some reason. We faced tougher pitching in Regina."

The All-Stars beat Iowa and lost another game 7-6.

Regardless of their record, the tournament and the trip to Chadron was a great experience for the young players.

"It was a good tournament," said McCubbing who added that it has been an enjoyable summer of baseball with the team. "The kids were really good. We had good parents and good kids."

Organizations: All-Stars, Ruth League, Cal Ripken Division Minor AAA All-Star

Geographic location: Chadron, Iowa, Chadron, Neb Canada Colorado Kansas Missouri Minnesota Nebraska Regina

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