Visalia Set to Host Cal Ripken World Series

VISALIA, Calif.

"We're going to have a really good time," said Visalia Blue's Dakota Rhea. "People are coming in from all around the country. It's going to be really fun. Hopefully we'll get some good competition too."

The Visalia Blue all-stars join Buchanan and Northwest Bakersfield to represent Central California. They will battle seven other teams from across the country to take home this year's World Series.

"I'll just remember this, my mom's taking pictures a lot," said Visalia Blue's Jordan Prendiz. "I'm taking pictures in my head. Hopefully I'll just remember this and end it on the right note."

Visalia Youth Baseball has spared no expense to host this year's World Series, renting bleachers to hold expected overflow crowds and bringing in vendors to line the walkways outside the fields.

"We had to raise over $100,000 just to host, and we've exceeded that," said Visalia Blue Manager Frank Durazo. "[With] the generous support of the community, businesses, and the city of Visalia, we've had great community support."

With 10 teams and their families coming to Visalia for the week, the city expects to see a significant boost to the local economy.

"Based on previous World Series that we looked at the financial report," Durazo said, "there should be a boon to the community of about one to one and a half million dollars. Just in hotels, rental cars, restaurants, shopping, you name it."

All that's left is for a local team to take home the big prize in their final try.

"Because it's your last year in Cal Ripken, or little league," said Visalia Blue's Jace Chamberlin. "And you're world champions if you win."

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