Alpena Huron Shores Babe Ruth is only in its second year of existence, but the organization is already making big waves throughout the state and looks to be in for a busy summer in 2014.
Alpena and AHSBR have been selected to host to the 10-year-old and 12-year-old Cal Ripken state tournaments. The tournaments will be held July 11-13 next year with the games primarily being played at the Little League Complex on US 23 North.
"This is pretty good for our community. We went how many years as Little League and didn't even have an opportunity to host a district tournament," AHSBR Information Director Malinda Amlotte said. "For us to host in our second year is amazing."
The tournament will bring teams from eight leagues to Alpena including the Central UP, Saginaw Valley, Howard Township, Clinton Valley, Brandywine, Huron Valley and L'Anse Creuse.
Alpena's opportunity to host comes on the heels of a solid summer for AHSBR baseball last year. At the state tournament in Niles, the 9U and 11U teams won state championships and the 10U and 12U teams both finished runner-up. The 11U team later advanced all the way to the quarterfinals in the regional tournament.
AHSBR's participation in the state and regional tournaments was an important factor for hosting, but the selection committee also looked at field conditions and the involvement of the community.
"We look at the quality of the field, we look at community involvement for wanting to host a tournament like this, we look at the community from an organizational standpoint, that they can handle it financially and we look at participation. Do they participate in other tournaments or do they only attend when it's close to home," State Commissioner of Cal Ripken Baseball Ron Hansinger said.
In addition to the 10U and 12U tournaments, AHSBR is also in the running to host several other tournaments including the first-ever Babe Ruth softball tournament and the senior Babe Ruth Tournament. Amlotte is hopeful Alpena can possibly host a regional in the near future as well.
Chris Limback, who coached Alpena's 11U team last year said playing at home will be of great advantage to Alpena's teams.
"Without a doubt (it's exciting). A lot of people have put in a lot of work behind the scenes to make this happen," Limback said. "We never had a chance to play at home in our other league and to play for a state championship at home is really great for our kids."
Though the tournaments more than half a year away, Amlotte said AHSBR will be busy with preparations. She plans to contact the Alpena Chamber of Commerce for information on lodging, restaurants and other pertinent information on Alpena to send a packet of information to each of the seven other participating leagues.
In the spring, upgrades will be made to the fields at the Little League Complex and other fields in the area will be spruced up to be used for practice.
Amlotte said hosting these tournaments will be a good thing for Alpena, especially in the summer when tourism increases.
"Hopefully we'll be bringing a lot of tourism to the area," Amlotte said. "Alpena is a vacation destination and for so many families, traveling to these games is their vacation."
James Andersen can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.