VISALIA — Central California and 11 other teams marched into Clyde Soto Field at Riverway Sports Park in Visalia on Thursday for the opening ceremonies of the 2019 Major/60 Cal Ripken World Series.
“Just talking here makes my skin get goosebumps,” Central California coach Carlos Perez said. “It’s pretty special. There’s no words to put the feeling. It’s amazing. I can’t even explain it.”
Teams walked out onto the field with their banners as they were announced and parents and spectators cheered and gave them a big round of applause.
Past World Series championship coaches and players from Visalia were recognized near the mound and Visalia Mayor Bob Link threw out the first pitch. After, the National Anthem was sung with the Visalia Fire Department hoisting the American flag from one of their firetrucks.
There was a 30-minute break before the players all took part in a Quickball tournament for fun.
“Excited, ready to play some ball and I think they’re hungry,” Perez said about his team’s arrival at the World Series. “They’re hungry to play, get on the field and compete. There’s 12 teams here, all champions and it’s going to be anybody’s tournament.”
Central California, from Hanford, is first up on the slate with a game today against Pacific Northwest at 2:30 p.m. on Field 1 to open up the World Series. Perez said he wants to see good teamwork and a mentally focused team in their first game. The goal is to set the tone from the get-go.
There will be a total of 12 teams participating in the World Series and they will be split into the American Division and the National Division.
The American Division features Central California, Midwest Plains, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest and Visalia Blue. The National Division features New England, Middle Atlantic, Ohio Valley, Southeast, Guam and Visalia Grey.
Pool play will consist of 30 games with each team playing five games. The top three teams from each division will advance to the championship bracket. The two teams who finish in first place in each division will receive a first-round bye. The other six teams will move into the Iron Bracket and play each other there.
The World Series will run from Aug. 2-9. Fees are $100 for a weekly family pass for four and $50 for an individual weekly pass. Daily passes are $10 for adults, $5 for children and seniors. Children five and under are free. There will be six pool play games each day.