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Reno Babe Ruth league celebrates 50 years; hosts state tournament

RENO, Nev. -- The South Reno Babe Ruth baseball league is celebrating its 50-year anniversary.

This year, Reno is hosting the state Babe Ruth Tournament. It is a sign that the league is going strong and filling an important need in our community.

League President Steve King said it starts with taking care of details during the game. "We announce the kids names when they come to the plate. They really love that."

For kids between the ages of 13 and 15, Babe Ruth Baseball offers a chance to hone their skills. A chance to get better and compete on their own field of dreams at Jack Tighe Park.

It is also a chance for baseball dreams to live on after Little League careers wind down. "If they necessarily didn't make the high school team and they're coming out of Little League at 12 years old, this gives them an opportunity to step to the next level," said Scott Kreie, South Reno All-Star Manager.

Some of the players in this league will go on to play high school baseball and some will not. But for every player on the field, Babe Ruth offers a chance to continue playing the game they love and learn some valuable lessons, as well.

"It's humility," said King. "We're not all going to be 100-percent every time. You need to learn how to adapt to failure. Then when you get the hit, get the home run, it's all good."

For managers like Kreie, the game plan includes teaching important lessons about character and class. Lessons, he said, about growing up. "How to win gracefully, how to lose."

The volunteers who keep this league running may get as much out of it as the players on the field. But make no mistake: there is plenty of hard work and sacrifice that goes on behind the scenes. That commitment to Babe Ruth baseball is paying off for a younger generation.

King volunteers his time, even though his son has moved on from Babe Ruth and plays at Galena High School. "Part of my thinking on it, if we don't keep these kids engaged, this league without other volunteers, we might struggle to stay open, and I don't want that to happen."

So it is batter up, as South Reno Babe Ruth celebrates 50 years, and the players involved get another chance to enjoy the excitement of being a part of America's pastime.  

"We're here for the right reasons and that's these kids," said King.

About 60 kids played in the South Reno Babe Ruth League this year. Next year, King said they are hoping to bump that number to around 80.