Wharton Babe Ruth just wrapped up its second week of play now that the skies have been clear. The start of the season was affected due to inclement weather, forcing league officials to have opening ceremonies on Saturday, May 18.
The ceremony was attended by around 150 people and it gave each team an opportunity to introduce players and coaches to fans. Anton Peter also received special recognition for his 28 years of volunteering.
The teams also raised funds through cake sales during the ceremony.
Some of the cakes were so large that the team needed a couple of players to hold them as they hoisted them in the direction of the crowd. Sherrell Speer provided auctioneering duties, helping to raise hundreds of dollars. Some of the teams had bakers produce cakes that enhanced their team’s logos and/or colors.
William Loocke, Wharton Babe Ruth commissioner, told fans the league has been in existence since 1956.
He said it’s not uncommon for those who are now coaching to have played as children with Wharton Babe Ruth.
Loocke said one of the main reasons Wharton has hosted Babe Ruth for decades is the location and playing field.
“We have a history of a good and well-run program,” said Loocke, who is also the East Texas Babe Ruth District commissioner. “We have volunteers who have stayed on, years after their children played here. Those are very special people.”
When asked where the players hail from, he had to think hard about which city or area that was not represented this year.
Babe Ruth has players from Wharton, Boling and East Bernard.
“We have someone from nearly every place from Wharton County,” Loocke said.
As the years have passed, there has also been support from the Wharton Independent School District and the City of Wharton. He singled out retired coach Floyd Ciruti and current Wharton Tigers baseball coach Brent Wurthrich, who have provided support to the league.
“We have great playing field conditions with more than $600,000 being put into the field by local businesses,” Loocke said. “The City of Wharton, the O’Quinn Foundation and State Representative Phil Stephenson have spent time out here or had someone volunteer to help run the league.”
For the 2019 season, there are 68 players made up of one 13-15 year old division. Some of the players may be even 12 years old.
Loocke said each team has several men on the coaching staff. Each is led with a manager. They include Roy Mendiola (Athletics), Rick Duran (Cardinals), Scott Kocian (Mets), Grady Smith (Rangers), and Robbie Gusman (White Sox).
“One of the main reasons these kids play is because they get to know each other and become long term friends,” Loocke said.
Smith reported scores of his team from games played on Tuesday, May 21.
They are as follows: Rangers defeated the White Sox, 16-2, in the first game. The winning pitcher was Kyler Sweat. In the second game, the Rangers won 13-4. The winning pitcher was Blaine Zalauf.
The A’s coaching staff provided the names of the players they will be competing with.
They include Ryan Mendiola (13), Jaden Compian (5), Korbyn Rivera (8), Sammy Rodriguez (11), Coltin Frayard (12), Larry Mendez (10), James Snyder (7), KJ Fortenberry (2), Sammy Mendez (9), Aaron Navarro (1), Shawn Navarro (3), McCoy Cash (6), and Ian Braunholz (4).
In a game coach Roy Mendiola recently reported, the A’s won, 13-7.
Among the players to score multiple runs were Mendiola, Compian, Snyder, each with two. The A’s scored 3 runs in the first inning, followed by 1 run in the third, 5 runs in the fourth and 4 runs in the fifth.
Wharton Babe Ruth posted the schedule on its Facebook page.
Each team will be playing doubleheaders throughout the season, which concludes Thursday, June 13. Games are played at 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.
This week, the games that were played were between the A’s and Cardinals, Rangers and White Sox, Mets and Rangers and later the Rangers/Cardinals.
Next week, the games that are scheduled are Cardinals vs. Mets (Tuesday, May 28), A’s vs. Rangers (Thursday, May 30), and White Sox vs. Mets (Friday, May 31).
Records for the teams have not been provided.