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Area Sports: China Grove 12U all-stars will play in SE Regional

Staff report
For coaches Thad Chrismon (South Rowan) and Joe Hubbard (NW Cabarrus) this is their second tour of Cal Ripken League baseball success with sons.
Thad’s son, Nathan, and Joe’s son, Ty, are part of the China Grove 12U team that recently won the state championship and will play in the Southeast Regional in Glen Allen, Va.
The Southeast Regional begins July 12 with a skills competition, picnic and opening ceremonies. Games start on July 13. The tournament is scheduled to conclude on July 17.
China Grove finished third in the area tournament behind East Rowan and long-time LittleLeague power Southwest Forsyth, a newcomer to Cal Ripken baseball, but all three teams advanced to the two-part state tournament.
China Grove won twice against East Rowan to advance from a double-elimination pool, and then won a best-of-three series against Southwest Forsyth for the state championship.
China Grove won the decisive game, 11-2.
The goal now is to make it through the double-elimination regional to the Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen, Md.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Chrismon said.
Chrismon said the primary difference between Cal Ripken baseball at the 12-year-old level and Little League baseball is the length of the bases and the distance of the pitcher’s mound from home plate.
Cal Ripken baseball uses 70-foot bases and the mound is 50 feet from home plate. Little League distances are 46 feet and 60 feet. Players can take leads off bases and there’s more stealing/pickoff action in Cal Ripken.
“This is a very good bridge to ‘real’ baseball,” Chrismon said.
Chrismon said the team is excited that it will be recognized at the Intimidators game on July 4 in front of what is always one of the season’s largest crowds.
The trip to Virginia and lodging is expensive, and the team is staging some fundraisers.
Team members are selling Hartstone15-inch pizza baking stones.
The team also is planning a pancake breakfast at Concordia Lutheran Church on Saturday, July 9, from 7-10 a.m.
Team members will be serving.

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