Lexington sends two teams to Cal Ripken World Series, one with a former major leaguer as manager

The South Lexington Cal Ripken Major/70 baseball team went to Branson, Mo., this week for the league’s World Series.
The South Lexington Cal Ripken Major/70 baseball team went to Branson, Mo., this week for the league’s World Series.

Lexington sent not one, but two teams to the Cal Ripken Major/70 World Series this week, one of them managed by former Cincinnati Red Austin Kearns.

The tournament, being held in Branson, Mo., included 16 American and eight international teams, playing in pool play that led to two elimination brackets. The experience included video postgame interviews on the event’s Facebook page.

The South Lexington team, led by Kearns, whose son Aubrey is on the team, advanced to the U.S. championship bracket after going 2-1 in pool play, but fell in the opening game of the elimination round to a Pacific Northwest team from Willamette, Ore., Thursday morning by a score of 6-3.

South Lexington earned its spot at the Branson, Mo. tournament by winning the Ohio Valley Regional.

The Southeastern Lexington Cal Ripken Major/70 team earned its automatic berth in this year’s World Series by winning the Ohio Valley Regional last year.

Also representing Kentucky in the tournament, was the Southeastern Lexington team managed by Mike Campbell, which earned its spot by being the Ohio Valley Regional champion last year. Southeastern Lexington was 1-2 in pool play and lost in the opening round of the consolation bracket Thursday afternoon, 5-2 to the California team from Northwest Bakersfield.

Both teams are comprised of all-star players in the 11-12-year-old age groups of their respective leagues. South Lexington competed in the Major 60 division last year and was eligible for this year’s Major/60 Cal Ripken World Series as an automatic bid, but with Southeastern Lexington already qualified, South Lexington decided to move over to the Major/70 division and give it a shot.

The numbers, 60 and 70, refer to the distance in feet between the bases in each division.

Each league’s Facebook pages offered updates for the Major 70 and other division teams.

Lafayette High School graduate Austin Kearns played the first 4 1/2 years of his 12-year major league career with the Cincinnati Reds. James A. Finley AP