They were the city's first 8U team to do so since 2017.
Ormond Beach's 8-and-under Babe Ruth All-Star team fought tooth and nail during the three-day district tournament at the Southside Sports Complex in Lake City to qualify for the state tournament.
The team opened the series on Thursday, July 16, against Jacksonville's Fort Caroline Warriors. The game was a nail-biter, with Ormond Beach trailing 6-5 at the top of the fifth inning. However, For Caroline pulled ahead to win 9-5.
“It was a wonderful relief to have these kids playing again. So many of these kids have been cooped up inside their houses. It’s been a relief to be able to get outside and play with other kids.”
MIKE REEVES, 8U team administrator
Ormond Beach needed to win both of its games on Friday, July. 17, and Saturday, July 18, and needed some help from other teams in the tournament to earn a trip to states.
The Ormond Beach All-Stars dominated their Friday opponent, the Newberry Bombers, 18-1. And on Saturday, they beat the San Jose Stars 11-6 to clinch the wildcard spot, qualifying them for the state tournament, held July 30 through Aug. 2 at the Ocala Rotary Complex. It was the first time Ormond Beach has qualified an 8U team for states since 2017.
“It was an awesome experience for the kids," said Michael Reeves, the team's administrator and the 8U director for Ormond Beach Baseball. "It was like a mini vacation for them. Not only did they get to play baseball, they got to hang out with each other. They really enjoyed it. It was a good time for the parents, too. They got to take a little break from life. Especially with what’s been going on with COVID-19.”
With the threat of the pandemic, there was always concern the tournament would be canceled. Ormond Beach was able to re-start its recreational league season, which allowed them to put together an all-star team "at the last minute."
As the team prepares for Ocala, the possibility of states being canceled is still on the back of their minds.
"It's definitely a possibility," Reeves said. "But we're trying to stay on the positive side of things."