PORT ANGELES — The North Olympic 16U Babe Ruth softball team from Port Angeles already has two strikes against it financially even before it gets to the World Series in Varina, Va., next week.
Getting to the World Series for this team was the “easy” part after winning a tough state tournament, coach Warren Stevens said.
The hard part is raising funds for the week-long trip after the national Babe Ruth organization threw a couple of wicked curveballs at visiting teams from around the country.
Eight other Port Angeles 16U softball teams have played in the World Series since 2001 but none of them have the financial hurdles this squad has.
For the first time since North Olympic has been participating in World Series tournaments around the country, there will be no host families to house visiting players.
The Port Angeles team will be taking a major financial hit because of this since all players, coaches and parents making the trip now will be staying in motels and paying for their own meals for the time they are in Virginia.
Normally a host family would supply free room and board for the players staying with it. The family also would take the players around town for entertainment and see the sights between games.
Stevens, his coaches and a few parents now will do the duty of a host family and try to entertain the players between games. Which, of course, amounts to another expense.
“I figured it will cost us $4,000 just for rooms and the players will be given $50 allowance per day to pay for meals and that will cost us another $6,800,” Stevens said.
“When I calculated the costs, I said ‘Holy smokes, this is tough news to the kids who have their hearts set on going to the World Series.’ “
The more than $10,000 extra the team will have go pay is like a youth Babe Ruth player trying to bat against Randy Johnson during the Big Unit’s prime.
But the Port Angeles players are doing their best to hold their own against Johnson’s stare.
For the past week-plus, the team has been raising funds almost nonstop.
Bake sales, selling raffle tickets and giving car washes has been the norm for players almost every day this week.
“These kids have been working their tails off,” Stevens said. “After raising funds all day, they have to go out and practice for the World Series.
“But this is more than a youth softball team going to the World Series.
“They are actually learning a life lesson. They have to earn their way, and they are taking ownership of that.”
The team still has two more days of intensive fundraising, starting today.
Players will have a bake sale and will sell raffle tickets today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Safeway, 2709 E. Highway 101.
Then on Saturday, the players will have a car wash from 10 a.m. to at least 3 p.m. or “until the last cars stop” in the parking lot of Angeles Pawn, 619 E. First St., Stevens said.
Anyone interested in donating can also send money to Strait View Credit Union at 220 S Lincoln St., Port Angeles 98362, and label the request 16U World Series, or call Stevens at 360-460-4731.
Stevens is happy with the response so far.
“This community has still stepped up despite the economy,” he said. “It’s not as good as it has in past years, but the community has stepped up.
“It’s hard for us to go out there and ask for funds because we know everyone is under a pretty tight budget.”
Port Angeles will leave for the World Series at the Swain’s General Store, parking lot, 602 E. First, at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
The tournament starts Thursday and lasts through Aug. 12.