WATERVILLE, Maine — When organizers pulled the Senior League World Series from Bangor in 2016, after 15 years of hosting the tournament in the Queen City, it left a void in youth sports in Maine.
This week, a world-caliber tournament returned to the state in the form of the Cal Ripken World Series.
A total of 12 teams from around the country—including four from Maine—are competing in the Cal Ripken World Series in Waterville and Oakland this week.
It’s the first time Maine has hosted the 12-and-under baseball tournament.
The teams are playing on the Purnell Wrigley field in Waterville and the Fenway field in Oakland. The parks are smaller replicas of their namesakes.
Tournament Host President Isaac LeBlanc, a Jay native, says the kids can feel the excitement the moment they step onto the turf.
"You just see 12-year-olds smile and playing baseball and recognizing the stage that they’re on and having a good time," he said, as two teams played catch and warmed up nearby on Wrigley Field. "And, that’s really, at the end of the day, that’s what they’re gonna remember, and that’s what it’s gonna be about because they’re gonna remember it for the rest of their lives for sure."
The tournament will be played each day this week, with pool play wrapping up Wednesday and the field narrowing down through the playoff bracket. The championship game is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m.
Families can purchase tickets and day passes here.