Purcellville has been a model host for the Babe Ruth World Series and will continue to be a regular site for series in the future, league president and CEO Ron Tellefsen said Thursday during a visit to Fireman's Field.
"The key to it is that they get the entire community together," Tellefsen said. "They really do an excellent job of getting the best host families, and that helps the kids have the best experience possible. This is a great area for young men to come and play."
Tellefsen, who has been president of the Babe Ruth League since 1980 and has been associated with the league since becoming an umpire in 1968, came to Purcellville as part of his tour of all of the Babe Ruth World Series sites. The league holds nine World Series a year, seven in baseball and two in softball.
Purcellville is holding its third tournament -- the first two were in 1998 (16-year-olds) and 2001 (16- to 18-year-olds) -- and it has become a regular stop. The community support, Fireman's Field and access to a major metropolitan area have made Loudoun County an ideal spot for the tournament.
Tellefsen said that the league pays for 90 teams' trips to the nine series, and it saves roughly 30 percent when the tournament is held east of the Mississippi River.
"A place in the East, like here, is great because it is close to the big media centers and to the airports," Tellefsen said. "That really saves a lot of money for us."
Loudoun County's status as a host site would not be affected if another location in the immediate area wanted to hold a series, according to Tellefsen. Conversely, another area would not be affected by Loudoun's status with the league.
"We consider Loudoun County a partner with Babe Ruth," Tellefsen said. "When Loudoun County wants to hold another World Series, we're not going to force them to bid against another area."
Schenk Pulls Through
There was no shortage of adversity for right-hander Starkie Schenk as he pitched in relief for Stamford, Conn., in a quarterfinal game against Mobile, Ala., on Thursday night.
But in his first pitching appearance since June, despite two hit batsmen and a balk that created a hairy situation in the seventh and final inning of a one-run game, Schenk was able to pull out the save in Stamford's 6-5 victory over Mobile.
Schenk's gutsy performance -- his first on the mound since breaking his right pinky finger, which is still slightly crooked -- allowed Stamford to advance to Friday's semifinal against Loudoun County.
Manager Mike Saccardi "told me in about the sixth inning that he would need me to pitch," Schenk said. "Obviously I was a little rusty, but I could do it. It was fine with me."
Schenk hit the first batter he faced and appeared to have retired the next batter on a popup when he was called for a balk. After a strikeout and another hit batsman, the bases were loaded with none out. But Schenk induced a pair of groundouts -- the first a force play at home -- to end the game.
"I just said to myself I can't mess up one more time," Schenk said. "I had to concentrate and get the outs."
Outside the Zone
Syracuse left-hander Cory Nelson has a hard fastball that he can place with good accuracy. But as he showed in his performance Thursday night against Mid-County, Tex., sometimes his best fastball is the one that he sends far out of the strike zone.
In Syracuse's 2-1 victory against Mid-County, five of Nelson's seven strikeouts were on balls high and away that the Mid-County batters could not resist.
"That's something I do a lot," Nelson said. "I like to try to get them to chase, and that worked today."