A youth baseball team from Northern Virginia has won a regional championship for its first time and will start play this week for a chance to win a national championship.
The Arlington 13-to-15-year-old boys Babe Ruth All-Star team reached the regional championship four straight years, finally advancing to nationals this summer.
“Really exciting to finally go to the national tournament,” player Gohn “Kez” Murray said.
They fly to Bismarck, North Dakota, Tuesday.
“It is an odd place,” player James Tallon said. “I’m kind of excited. I get to cross a new state off my list.”
The players are confident in their chances.
“We have good players, you know,” Murray said. “We have good coaching.”
That includes 84-year-old assistant coach Pete Cain, who has 60 years’ experience coaching boys and girls in several sports, some of which he never played, including baseball.
“It sort of hasn’t sunk in yet,” Cain said. “I’ve never been this far with anything. I’ve coached different sports, but I’ve never had a chance to be the national champion.”
Head coach Dan Brototsky said it’s already a special season.
“I think they’ve had three or four walk-off wins,” Brototsky said. “They’ve had several come-from-behind victories. We won this enormous — I don’t know if you can believe this — but in one of these tournaments we won this enormous Super Bowl-like ring in Maryland.”
Arlington will play four teams in pool play. The top three teams in their division move on to a single-elimination tournament.