Local baseball team to represent Idaho in popular national tournament
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IDAHO FALLS — A local kid’s baseball team will soon travel across the country to compete in a tournament unlike any other.
The Dirty Dozen baseball team is a travel team based out of Idaho Falls that consists of 12 players who are all 12-years-old. Head Coach Billy Brown said this is his team’s last year playing on a 50/70 sized baseball diamond, which means there’s a pitching distance of 50 feet and bases are 70 feet apart, before they play on a full-size field next year.
For that reason, he wanted to do something special to celebrate, so he’s taking his team to Branson, Missouri. They will be playing at Ballparks of America, a place where youth baseball tournaments are held.
“I don’t think they quite get it yet. They know we’re going and they’re excited, but I don’t think they have quite the idea how cool this really is going to be,” Brown said.
The team will stay and play on the Ballparks’ campus and compete against baseball teams from across the nation. There are five iconic Major League Baseball field replicas to play on including Chicago, St. Louis, Boston, Detroit and New York.
Brown believes they are the first team from the area to go to this tournament, but it took months of raising funds to even register in the first place.
“We started raising money last fall doing fundraisers, cleaning up yards, getting sponsors (and) selling raffle tickets,” he explained. “We raised enough money to cover all the fees for the entire year, plus fly the boys to Branson, Missouri and do the week-long tournament out there.”
The Dirty Dozen raised around $23,000.
“It’s a huge tribute to our community,” assistant coach Zachary Lords said about the money they earned. “We did way better than we thought we would.”
Lords said this will be the biggest tournament the team’s played in, and he hopes the boys soak up every minute of it — on and off the field.
“It’ll be a fun experience and (to) hang out together,” Lords said. “We hope to play baseball well, but that’s our secondary goal.”
Brown said he’s coached some of the boys on the team for about four years, and the team is his family. He said each year he’s watched them improve.
While he’s looking forward to seeing how his team brings their years of experience to the competition, more than anything, he wants this tournament to be something the boys never forget.
“It’s a once in a lifetime deal and it’s going to be an amazing experience for these boys,” Brown said.
The team flies out next Friday for the week-long tournament.
For more information on Ballparks of America, click here.