Sunday, August 06, 2000

Amateur baseball team reaches national tourney

By John Erardi
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati's senior RBI team (Reviving Baseball in the Inner City) begins a week-long national tournament today at Disney World in Orlando.

        The team, coached by Vince Ward and Daryl Whitehead, won RBI's Central Regional Championship on July 24 at Cinergy Field, beating Detroit to advance to this week's World Series.

        There are nine other regional champions in the tournament.

        It is the Cincinnati senior team's first year in the RBI program. Last year, Ward and Whitehead coached a junior RBI team (13- to 15-year-olds) to the regional championship game at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.

        “We've got a young team — mostly 16- and 17-year-olds — so hopefully we'll be in the World Series for the next couple of years,” Ward said. “We have six or seven of last year's juniors on this year's senior team. The experience last year was a big help.”

        Ward said the members of the senior team “grew up” at Cinergy Field when they came from behind with a big rally in the sixth inning to bury the Detroit team, comprised mostly of 18-year-olds.

        The Cincinnati seniors will play at least five games at Disney World, and as many as seven if they reach the championship game. Today Cincinnati will play Schenectady, N.Y., and Tampa.

        “This is a wonderful opportunity for the kids,” said Chris Nelms, director of Cincinnati's RBI program. “They'll never be the same after this. It's going to be a terrific experience.”


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