Underdog travel team wins the Cal Ripken Tournament | Herald Community Newspapers

The Long Island Storm 13u team shocked the travel baseball tournament world when it became the first ever team from Long Island to win the Hang Ten Ripkin Baseball Tournament July 30-Aug. 4 in Myrtle Beach .

The Long Island Storm is a travel team made up of players from Long Beach, Oceanside and Rockville Centre 13 years and older.

The Ripken Baseball Experience was founded by former Baltimore Oriole great Cal Ripken Jr. and according to its website, it “aims to provide ballplayers with an experience similar to what we had in the Big Leagues. In doing so, we can provide players, coaches, and families with the experiences and lifelong memories that will allow them to enjoy and play the game for as long as possible.”

One player, Jake Dyer’s, father Scott says that the team were the underdogs who were able to pull off a miraculous win.

“They’ve been playing together for a while now but this tournament made them come together like a family almost,” Scott said. “So, it was a great accomplishment for them-a team who nobody expected to win this thing.”

The team says that though they didn’t do any preparation specific to the tournament, their regular practice helped them secure the win.

“We’re just a well-trained team from our practices for our regular season,” Jake Dyer said. “That’s what made us prepared and made us like a family and so close.”

His teammate Jake Ganulin says though that the team wasn’t always so close but after taking a lesson from another team, they learned the value of teamwork and camaraderie, which was another key factor that helped them earn the win.

“We played another tournament recently and everybody on our team were kind of separated and we weren’t the nicest to each other and it didn’t look like we were a team at all,” Ganulin said. “There was another team there and they were all in the dugout together talking and working together as a team and we took a lesson from them, I think. In Myrtle Beach, we became very close and were interacting with each other and giving each other high fives and hanging out in the hotel and I think that’s what brought us our motivation for winning the tournament and gave us excitement and motivation.”

Adding to the excitement was the prestige of the tournament.

“It felt like we were actually in an MLB game,” Ganulin said. “Whenever we were up, it was like a real at-bat and we were actually playing professionally.”

Jake Dyer said that one real-world aspect of the tournament was the professional PA system.

“What made it feel like a real world series was that they announced our name during the National Anthem,” Jake Dyer said. “But what really got us hyped up and excited was when we went up at-bat, they played walk-up songs for us.”

On becoming the first team from the Island to win the tournament, Jake Dyer said,

“It’s nice to know me and my team were the only ones from Long Island to win this tournament. Many have tried to win it and failed.”

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