The team from West Raleigh, NC, which was representing the Southeast Region for the United States, won the Cal Ripken World Series title Saturday night with a 5-2 victory over the international champions Mexico. Southeast had won the U.S. Championship on Friday over the local Harford County team, while Mexico had beaten defending champions Japan. This was the second year in a row that the boys from North Carolina made it to the final game. This is also the first time since 2009 that an American team won the overall championship.
The first inning started quickly for Southeast with a Garret McCraw double, Matthew Willadsen RBI single and a Lane Rhodes home run. The four runs that the team scored in the first inning were all they really needed, although Nolan McLean added another run with a solo home run in the third inning. Mexico got their two runs in the fourth via a two-run home run by Jesus Castillo. McGraw was also the starting and winning pitcher for Southeast.
The team comprises the West Raleigh Big Blue and are based out of West Raleigh Baseball Association.
The Cal Ripken World Series is the final event of the Babe Ruth League’s Cal Ripken Major/70 Division. Teams play on a field with 70-foot base paths and a 50-foot pitching distance. Ten domestic teams and eight international teams play in the week-long event. This year is the first for Puerto Rico and New Zealand. The Cal Ripken Major/70 Division is different than the well-known Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA, as that tournament uses 46-foot pitching distances and 60-foot base paths.