WAITE PARK -- Youth baseball is in full swing in Waite Park this weekend as 11 teams compete in the Cal Ripken 12-and-under state tournament at River's Edge Park.

Joe Hemmesch is the coach of the Waite Park 12AA team. He says the tournament is all about kids having fun.

"We've worked hard, we've gotten better and that's the whole point of this. Have some fun and get better at baseball," says Hemmesch.

Today's (Friday) games goes until 6:00 p.m. After the first round of play, players will compete in a skills competition, including a home run derby, starting at 7:00 p.m.

Hemmesch says while they've had their struggles over the last few months, what he most enjoys is bonding with the kids.

"I'm able to coach my son, my assistants have sons on the team, so to spend time with our kids and see the improvements they've made in the four or five months we've played has been great," says Hemmesch.

The double-elimination tournament continues tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday starting at 10:00 a.m. and is free to attend.

The winner advances to the Midwest Plains Regional in Fargo, North Dakota on Wednesday.

Cal Ripken Baseball is a division of Babe Ruth League Inc.


(Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)