State tourney in Tallassee this week
By Michael Butler
Believe it or not - it is unprecedented although Tallassee is steeped with baseball tradition. While the city has hosted its fair share of state championships at levels from high school on down, it has never hosted three state championships in the same baseball season.
On July 6, Tallassee will become the host of three age divisions for the Alabama Babe Ruth Baseball Championships. Tallassee last hosted the state tournament in 2021 in the 15-and-under age group. Prior to that, it was the host in 2015.
The 15-and-under, 14U and 13U will all play for titles in Tallassee this year. Tallassee is fielding two teams; a 13U and 15U.
The 15U squad will be among eight teams participating in its division. The 13U group is guaranteed a regional spot as one of only two state contenders. There will be six teams in the 14U bracket. In all, there are 16 teams playing.
Tallassee's 15U all-stars (kneeling, left to right): Brandon Goodman, Mason Henderson, Trent Morris, Abram Whittington, Cason Hornsby, Patrick Ernest. Standing (left to right): Jack Butler, Xander Johnston, Avery Brantley, Hunter Denham, Brody Smith, Bradley Smith.
Games will be at the Babe Ruth Complex and Southside Field. Action starts at 10 a.m. on Thursday. The 15U stars are slated to open at 3 p.m. vs. Grand Bay at Southside. They are scheduled to play Monroeville (12:30 p.m.) and Brewton (6:30 p.m.) on Friday at the Babe Ruth Complex. The 13U boys open the best-of-three championship series vs. Sylacauga at 3 p.m. on Friday at the Babe Ruth fields.
All game times are tentative with the forecast indicating a chance of showers and thunderstorms.
"Since we've got three fields, we're going to try and get as many games in and finish up on Saturday," said Robbie Ellis, Tallassee Babe Ruth League president. "If Mother Nature will let us, that will happen. All championship games will be at Southside."
Tallassee's 13U all-stars (kneeling, left to right): Branton Griffith, Jaden Griggs, Grayson Hammonds, Kole Burton, Braylon Rigsby. Standing (left to right): Caleb Gillespie, Hamp Love, Whit Creswell, Hudson Timmerman, Clay Price, Walker Boles, Braxton Lemley.
Tallassee fell to Sylacauga (5-2) at their place last year in the 15-and-under state championship game. The two met earlier in the tournament with Tallassee winning 18-6. It was Sylacauga that knocked Tallassee out of the Southwest Regional in Camden, Ark. 7-2.
Two years ago, Tallassee's 13U team punched its ticket for the Babe Ruth World Series in Jamestown, N.Y. in winning the Southwest Regional by a 6-2 score over host West Alabama (Demopolis). This year's 13U team is a qualifier with Sylacauga for the regional which returns to Camden.
The 15U team will have two pools of four teams. The top four teams qualify for bracket play. Tallassee, Brewton, Grand Bay and Monroeville make up Pool A. Pool B consists of Atmore, Opp, Monrovia and Sylacauga.
Between the different pool play and bracketed matchups, a minimum of 30 games will be played over the course of the tournament. A portion of championship play will be broadcast on WTLS/Score 94.7/Hit 106.9 and Facebook Live.
"It's pretty big," said Ellis. "If you're in town and you like baseball, come on down. There's going to be plenty to watch."
2023 Tallassee Babe Ruth 13U All-Stars
Coaches: Tommy Burton, Abe Rigsby, Pat Love, Robbie Ellis
2023 Tallassee Babe Ruth 15U All-Stars
Coaches: Tommy Wisener, Michael Butler, Jason Denham