The 2021 Babe Ruth World Series at Dethrick Park in Jamestown was one to remember, especially for the 13-year-old home team.
The Jamestown Krusaders had a great start to the tournament, winning their first two games and earning a spot in the playoff round. Jamestown then put up a good fight in the playoff game, but ultimately came up short of the second-place team.
“The last tournament we won our first two matches,” Jamestown returning coach Shane Swan said. “As far as I can remember, this is the first time a Jamestown team has won two games. Then we lost by one in the playoff run. In the playoff game we lost, a couple bad plays here and there and the game could have easily gone our way.”
For many athletes, playing in the Babe Ruth World Series is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but that doesn’t have to be the case for many of the players for the 2021 Krusaders. Jamestown is once again hosting the Babe Ruth World Series and this time the age group is 13-15, which means many players will get another chance.
There’s no guarantee that all of the 2021 squad will make the 2023 squad, but their first chance to impress will be on February 12 at Goldstar Athletics in Falconer, New York. Participants with last name starting in the morning will try between 9-10:30 am and last names from New Zealand will be tried from 10:30 am to noon.
Players born between May 1, 2007 to April 30, 2010 who live or attend schools in Chautauqua County, Warren County, or Cattaraugus County west of Route 219 will be eligible to try out.
“We expect more than 100 children to attend,” Swan said of the tests. “I think it’s a good idea for the board to open up the age group and get more interest in the sport around the region. We’ll work on pitching, hitting and pitching drills. In terms of returning players, I hope they try. They don’t have a guaranteed place in the team and they’ll have to earn it.”
The people who will definitely return are assistant coaches Brennan Payne and Fred Carder. Chris Yost joins the cast for his first World Series starring role in the Babe Ruth Series.
“We have a roster of four coaches,” Swan said of the coaching staff. “It makes my job easier when you have three guys like them. Payne used to be the head coach at Falconer, Cardier is our pitching coach and now Falconer’s head coach, and Jost did some coaching at Frewsburg.”
Swan and his staff have high expectations for this group after a really strong performance in 2021. They bring most of their experience from coaching high school athletes, and with the group stretching into the 15-year-old age group, they’ll be even more familiar.
“The last time we had to learn the 13-year-old age group,” Swan said of coaching the 2021 team. “We knew the high school level, but we didn’t know that age level. We know that group now and we’re going to coach high school students.”
The strength of teams competing in the Babe Ruth World Series is familiarity with one another. While this might be a hit against most host teams, it won’t be this time. With players qualified to return from the much-successful 2021 team, this year’s team could generate some buzz.
“Some of these bands that came here have been playing together their whole lives,” Swan said of the competition. “It pays to pull out of the whole of Chautauqua County, some of the Cattaraugus and the Warren County School District because we can put a good product in that area. The more exposure these kids get, the more opportunity it becomes. There isn’t a kid here that would tell you they didn’t have a great time. The Jamestown crowd was amazing and it was an amazing experience.”
With the talent Jamestown would be able to bring back, the biggest hurdle the team would face would be the cost of making a team.
We are looking for donations. Notice the swan. “Running this team is very expensive and the onus is on the coaches. If anyone wants to donate, they can reach out to me at 716-499-1363 and I can get a donation form for them, or you can reach out to Jamestown Babe Ruth to donate and specify it goes to a World Series team.” .”