The Durham Bulls recently welcome a number of VIPs for two very special baseball games, the Long Ball/RBI Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships for both the Junior and Senior Divisions.
Durham hosted the 2019 Long Ball/RBI Baseball Regional Championship on the weekend of July 19 – 21 at the DBAP, DAP and a couple of Parks and Rec facilities across the city. Major League Baseball facilitates the event, and the Durham Bulls welcomed members of their office, as well as MiLB President Pat O’Connor to the DBAP on Sunday for the championship games of the two age groups.
The Durham Long Ball Senior team, which calls the DAP home, advanced to the championship game via victories over previous championship winning teams from as far as Philadelphia. They took down a team from Pittsburgh and celebrated their Regional Championship with a festive celebration on the DBAP infield.
“I can’t describe how excited these kids were to celebrate with the teammates and families,” said DBBC Assistant General Manager, Operations Scott Strickland. “They have advanced to the RBI Baseball World Series, to be hosted at the former LA Dodgers Spring Training facility in Vero Beach, Florida on August 4th through 9th.”
The Long Ball Program operates under the umbrella of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), a Major League Baseball initiative designed to give young people from underserved and diverse communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball, and all the participants range in age from 13 to 18. RIB leagues aim to motivate participants to stay in school and pursue post-secondary education, and school attendance/performance is a requirement for joining and remaining on RBI teams.
Pat James serves as Long Ball RBI President in Durham.
“What Pat James has done with this program is remarkable and deserves all of our praise,” said trickland. “Numerous MLB representatives remarked post game how the first few years Pat brought teams to regionals they were ALWAYS 10 run ruled from games. The games were not competitive…. But she kept bringing them back. Each year a little better than the previous. And today they are champions.”
Durham has been affiliated with RBI since 2012, and this year marks the first time the city hosted the regional tournament. 10 teams competed in the Junior Division, and seven in the Senior Division.
“Several of these kids have come through the DBYAL program, but all have come through our shared facilities and programs we all help to operate,” said Strickland. “This is a tremendous accomplishment for Long Ball and our city.”
Thanks to DBBC’s Scott Strickland for contributions to this capcom story & for these capcom photos.