Hosting the state Cal Ripken tournament at Eagle Canyon Park last week, four Spanish Springs squads (not counting the 11-year-old team) sliced through their competition en route to the state crown and a trip to regionals. Part of the reason for the large amount of success is due to the particpation of families in the Spanish Springs community.
“For the last couple of years Spanish Springs has been pretty dominant in Cal Ripken baseball,” said Brad Durski, Vice President of Spanish Springs Cal Ripken. “Last year we won every age group that we put in. The year before that and this year, we only lost one. Of course, anytime one league can sweep almost all the age divisions for state, that’s great.
“The population out here in Spanish Springs allows us the opportunity to field a team in each of the age groups. We’ve been able to actually put a team on the field in every division, while a lot of other leagues don’t have that luxury like Sun Valley, Fallon or Silver State.We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of support from the community out here to produce a good all-star team and compete in the state tournament. It’s really good for this community.”
The success for Spanish Springs was not just on the diamond though.
“We put a lot of work into hosting the tournament,” Durski said. “For the last few years, we’ve made some major improvements on our fields. The county doesn’t give us a lot of support financially. They built the fields for us and then they left them. In the last three years we put in a scoreboard, batting cages and lights. If you look at the last three years, we spent about $185,000 on improvements to the fields and the county has given us zero financial support, so our fund-raising efforts out here are second-to-none. Nobody has made that much money in the last few years.
“Leading up to the tournament, we had a field day and were out there mowing the grass with 20-25 people every day out there working on the fields and working on the snack shack. It was very organized. We had scorekeepers and announcers for every game. I think everyone had a good time. Everyone always says it’s for the kids, but I think the parents have a good time with it too. It was good for everybody.”
The good times had were apparent after the tournament had wrapped up.
“We raised a decent amount of money over the four days. For our snack bar sales during the tournament, we were averaging around $1,000 a day for four days,” Durski said. “We didn’t lose money. I’d say in the end we probably raised around $2,000 total as pocket for the league. The entire board agreed that money raised during that event would go to the teams to help with the travel expenses. So that was good for the league.”
The extra cash will be nice as the Spanish Springs All-Star teams prepare to hit the road for regional battles. While the 8-year-olds will stay home because the league decided against them travelling, the 9s and 10s will go to Los Altos, Calif., the 11s will travel to Elk Grove, Calif., and the 12s go to Taylorsville, Utah.
“Everyone is pretty excited,” Durski said. “They each are pretty good little teams so we’ll see how it goes.”
Although there is an abundance of talent representing Spanish Springs, Durski said the true talent of the league is behind the scenes.
“I think the thing that everyone involved with Spanish Springs Cal Ripken baseball is most proud of is the participation. We have over 600 kids in our league. Nobody in the Reno-Sparks area has that many kids in a league. I think that’s a reflection of how well the league is actually ran.”