BOISE, Idaho — The Co-County 13U team is headed to Virginia to compete against teams from across the nation and Canada in the 2023 Babe Ruth World Series. The trip of a lifetime got off to a memorable start Thursday morning, thanks to the help of local law enforcement.
The young baseball players from Nampa, Caldwell and Homedale received an escort to the Boise Airport at 4 a.m. Thursday from members of the Caldwell Police Department and Canyon County Sheriff's Office. Even Mayor Jarom Wagoner and Caldwell Police Chief Rex Ingram helped with the send-off celebration.
"We are so proud of this team, and we will be cheering you on from home! Good luck," Caldwell Police wrote on Facebook.
Co-County is just the fifth Idaho team to ever make the Babe Ruth World Series. When they take the field in Glen Allen, Virginia, they will do so as the first team ever from Canyon County. The tournament begins Thursday with team check-in and a welcome experience, before opening ceremonies and warm-up games on Friday.
Last month, the local squad defeated Bozeman, Montana, 2-1 in the Pacific Northwest championship to earn a spot on the national stage. Co-County won on a bunt with two strikes in a 1-1 contest in the bottom of the final inning.
The work hasn't stopped for the 13U boys since the massive accomplishment. Co-County juggled practicing with fundraising, selling tickets donated by the Sawtooth Sockeyes out in front of local stores, while spreading the word of the donations needed to take the 10-day trip.
Members of the community jumped at the chance to help the team. Co-County received a check from the Canyon County Sheriff's Office, another from the City of Caldwell – presented by Wagoner – and the Sockeyes hosted an in-game fundraiser for the boys on Aug. 4.
Co-County even received a guided tour of the Idaho State Capitol and met Gov. Brad Little. The team made sure Little had the appropriate swag during the visit.
"We want to give a heart felt THANK YOU for the incredible amount of love and support that we have received from our community. It's really quite astounding," Co-County Youth Baseball wrote on social media.
The team has formed an incredible bond along the way. Lukas Wonderlich previously told KTVB this group of ball players "has been together for six years." Each year, Co-County has worked toward a Babe Ruth World Series appearance, and this year, "we did it."
Pool play at the 2023 Babe Ruth World Series begins Saturday, and runs through Wednesday, Aug. 16. Bracket play takes place Aug. 17 - Aug. 18, before the championship on Aug. 19. Teams will head home from Virginia on Aug. 20.
"On the back of our warmup jersey we have 'trust,' it's to trust the dude to your left and right and trust that they'll make their play," Preston Wade told KTVB in July. "All these guys are my best friends, basically we're family. So, it's gonna be a blast."
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