The Blaine Area Little League B.A.L.L. hosted its second annual 8- and 9-Year Old B.A.L.L. Invitational July 24-27 at the Blaine Baseball Complex.
Sixteen teams of 8-and 9-year-olds from little league organizations representing Blaine, Coon Rapids, Crystal, Golden Valley, Hastings, Hopkins, Minnetonka, New Hope, Otsego, Plymouth, Robbinsdale, Spring Lake Park and St. Louis Park will compete in the four-day tournament.
The event doubled in size since its debut last summer when eight teams participated.
The growing popularity of the tournament coincides with a surge in player registrations in the Blaine Area Little League. During its regular season in 2013, B.A.L.L. had nearly 1,100 registered players, up from approximately 850 just three years ago.
“We saw a void in opportunities for this age group and it looks like we were right by the interest level,” said Kevin Johnston, vice president of Blaine Area Little League. “There’s a reason baseball is America’s favorite pastime. Baseball brings communities together. Not only are kids learning the fundamentals of game, they’re learning important lessons in life about respect and working together as a team. We’re thrilled to host the Blaine Invitational for Little League players around the metro, and we welcome the community to what we expect will be a great week of baseball.
“This event is a great way to showcase our great facilities and wrap up our summer season by hosting an event for the entire Little League community,” Johnston added.
Blaine Area Little League serves student athletes from the Anoka Hennepin School District (within the Blaine High School boundaries) and Spring Lake Park School District. B.A.L.L. offers competitive play for kids ages 4 through 19. Registration for the 2014 season begins in January, with games starting in April and running through July. B.A.L.L. is a nonprofit organization governed by a board of directors. Teams for ages 4-12 are affiliated with Little League International and are part of Minnesota District 1. Visit the B.A.L.L. website to learn more — www.ba-littleleague.org.