All-star team needs help getting to Utah

July 26, 2008 12:40:30 AM PDT
An Oakland youth baseball team is long on talent, but short on funds. The city's nine-year-old Babe Ruth Team claimed the Northern California Championship, earning them a berth in the coveted Western Regionals in Utah. But so far, the team hasn't raised enough money to pay for the trip.

They're already a hit on their home turf, now they're struggling to get to the next level.

"How much do you want to go to Utah?" asks ABC7's Laura Anthony. "You want to go pretty bad?"
"Yeah, really, really bad," said Eddie Costantini, an Oakland All-Star.

Utah is where this team has earned a spot as the Northern California Champions in next week's Western Regional Babe Ruth Championship for nine year olds, if they can afford to get there.

"We need to get out kids to Utah. We're going to be there for eight days. So that's seven to eight hotel rooms, jamming them up together," said Anika Daniels-Jones, a parent.

"Right now, we're about 7,500 dollars short of what we need," said Charlene Peterson, a league board member.

Still, these parents won't let their kids sit out a chance to have an experience they'll cherish for a lifetime.

"They're pinching pennies. They're pulling money from here, pulling money from there. They're using credit cards that are already maxed out. It's a hardship for the majority of parents that are on the team," said Lisa Costantini, a parent.

Still, it's worth it because even these kids know, they're safer on these bases, than they would be hanging out on some hot corner.

"It really keeps the kids out of trouble," said Bobby Pope, a parent. "These kids learn a lot of values from playing sports. It's really important they get support from the community."

"Why do you want to represent Oakland?" asks ABC7's Anthony.
"Because Oakland has a lot of shootings and stuff, and we want to show that Oakland is a good town," said Ryan Jenkins, an Oakland all-star.

"A lot of these kids have never been out of their neighborhoods, off the corner," said Sam Taylor.

Taylor coaches these All-stars on a field that once played host to youngsters named Jimmy Rollins, Dave Stewart, and Rickey Henderson.

"It teaches them humility, it teaches them the ups and down in life. You know we might win, but it's how you win and how you lose," said Taylor, Oakland All-star coach.

Whatever their results on the field, these players have already proven themselves to be winners in the community.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the Oakland Babe Ruth 9 Year Old All-Stars trip to Utah as the Northern California representatives can send donations to:

Oakland 9 Year Old All Stars 2008

Oakland Babe Ruth
P.O. Box 27549
Oakland, CA 94602
oakbaberuth@aol.com

Other Contact Info:
(510) 501-6908
Charlene Peterson
Babe Ruth Board of Directors


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