COLONIE — The North Colonie Blue Bison 12U Cal Ripken team is headed to the World Series in Branson, Missouri.
A sendoff for some team members was held at the Albany International Airport featuring elected officials, South Paw from the Tri-City ValleyCats and a fantastic rendition of “Take me Out to the Ballgame” by Madison VanDenburg, a finalist on American Idol. Some had taken earlier flights, and a few families drove the 19 hours.
“I’m really excited. It’s going to be a great experience,” said 12-year-old pitcher and first baseman Ethan McGarry. “I just want to have fun and win some games.”
County Executive Dan McCoy was on hand and told the team to “have fun.”
“There will be some fantastic memories you will make on the field but it’s more important to be a team and lean on each other and yes, Paula and I want you to win, we want to brag, but what’s most important is you have fun and giving it your all. If you give it 100 percent, win or lose, that’s all that matters,” he said.
“We could not be more proud of all of you,” echoed Supervisor Paula Mahan. “It’s about doing your best and having fun and these memories will stay with you forever. All of us in Colonie will be rooting for you.”
The team, most of whom have been playing together since they were eight or nine, earned the trip to the World Series by winning the Mid-Atlantic Regionals in 2018.
North Colonie is in “Pool B” along with teams from Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii and Missouri. The first game is Friday, Aug. 2 against Winter Park, Florida and then on Saturday, Aug. 3 against West Hartford, Connecticut. Pool play will continue through Tuesday, Aug. 6 and then the teams will be seeded in brackets.
“We’ve been telling them since they were seven or eight that the ultimate goal is to make it to the World Series,” said Coach Joe Mariano. “This group, sometimes we get upset because they don’t know how good they are and they play to the level of their competition and it’s been that way since they were eight years old. Now, we hope they do play to the level of their competition because we are sure going to see the best competition we have ever seen.”
Prior to the game he said: “We will tell them work hard and all that stuff and to have fun, of course. This is a business trip. We are here to make memories.”