GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Whether it’s college or Little League, the people of Greenville all share enthusiasm for the same thing: baseball.
“I think it’s one of the driving forces here. I mean, you’ve got East Carolina sports and everything,” said Stan Briggs, a Greenville baseball fan. “Baseball has always been a big history here in Greenville.”
This week, the Babe Ruth league’s 13-15 year-olds are competing in the Southeast Regional tournament. It features six different teams including Charlottesville (Va.), Crystal Coast (NC), East Orange (Fla.), Stanly County (NC), Tallahassee (Fla.) Leon, and host Greenville. The tournament champion will advance to the World Series in Eagle Pass, Texas on August 11.
Greenville opened tournament play Tuesday evening against East Orange. The guys took control early and cruised in their first win, 17-2.
On Wednesday, Greenville was back in action for the tournament’s second game of the day. Tallahassee Leon and Greenville battled in the scorching heat at Guy Smith Stadium.
Many fans were in attendance to cheer on the local team, including J.H. Rose High School baseball coach Ronald Vincent.
“It’s everything. It’s a feeder system, and it’s so much fun to watch,” Vincent said. “You know, I love to go to Little League games, I love to go to Babe Ruth games and watch these young guys play and watch them improve and watch how much better they enjoy baseball. You know, we forget that part of it, you are supposed to enjoy it, and these kids do.”
Greenville played hard Wednesday but lost to Tallahassee Leon, 7-4. The loss dropped the team into the losers’ bracket. The team was scheduled to play again at 7 p.m. Wednesday, weather permitting, in an elimination game.
Despite their early loss Wednesday, Greenville still has a chance to move to the finals.
“It’s a really good experience to watch the teams play,” said Charlie Medlin, a young baseball fan. “It feels good to be able to watch.”
Medlin is a local baseball player, part of the team Re/Max. While he told 9OYS that his favorite team is the Baltimore Orioles, he enjoys being able to attend Guy Smith Stadium to watch some of the older players in the area compete.
“It is awesome to have great Greenville baseball. We’ve already had several state championships and now here we are with the 15U Babe Ruth team,” said Briggs. “What can be better than great Greenville baseball?”
As summer ball continues, there is one thing Greenville people tell us they want to make sure kids are still doing: having fun.