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Sunday, September 19, 2021
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2021 Wharton Babe Ruth Season Comes To An End

The Wharton Babe Ruth League (WBR) recently wrapped up their 2021 season. Babe Ruth is a national educational baseball organization, named after one of the greatest baseball players of all time — George Herman “Babe” Ruth.

“One of the amazing things about the Babe Ruth League is that it really brings the community and kids together for a common purpose.”

After coming to an agreement this spring with Wharton ISD on continuing to play on the Wharton high school baseball complex, WBR welcomed 84 Junior League players on six teams, ages 13 to 15, and 64 Senior League players on four teams, ages 16 to 18.

Thirty volunteer coaches worked hard to make sure these players increased their baseball knowledge and had a good time in the process.

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According to 8-year Wharton Babe Ruth President, Grady Smith, the experience for players is meant to be fun.

“It’s such a relaxed season and a great, low pressure way for kids to learn the game,” Smith told The County Gin. “We welcome players of all skill levels and backgrounds.”

WBR, which was chartered in 1958, is open to players from Wharton County, Brazos ISD, Lamar Consolidated ISD, Bay City ISD and Needville ISD.


Games were well attended throughout the 10-game regular season with an average of around 100 spectators, despite the relentless rainouts.

Upon the regular season’s end, All Star teams were voted on by the coaches. Four All Star teams representing WBR were formed and included a 13-year-old, 14-year-old, 15-year-old, and a 16-18-year-old team.

“The All Star experience is a blast,” said Smith.  “The teams travel to tournaments and get the opportunity to meet new people, see new places and compete at a high level. The kids and parents love it.”

The Wharton Babe Ruth 13-year-old All Star Team competed in the Texas State Tournament in Eagle Pass, Texas, and finished in 3rd place. They competed against teams from South Texas.

Courtesy photo. Back row, left to right:
Brandon Rucka, Cade Stehling, Manager Scott Yackel, Clay Stehling, James Terrazas, Luke Tidmore, Josh Melner, Mason Hobizal
Front row left to right:
Randy Ruiz, Chris Rodriguez, Holt Yackel, Brandon King, Lincoln Hubenak, Jackson Bystrek, Coach Arnold Terrazas
Not pictured: Coach Nolan Stehling

The 14-year-old team, which was managed by Smith, traveled to Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and competed in the Southwest Regional Tournament. They lost in the semi-final game after beating the tournament champions from Bryant, Arkansas, in pool play.

Photo by Stephanie Schulz. Back row, left to right: Mason Bystrek, Manager Grady Smith, Camden Fucik, Zachary Zimmerman, Rocky Ruiz, Nicolas Gutierrez, Lane Schulz, James Dorotik, Coach Bubba Schulz
Front Row, left to right: Austin Babcock, Jayden Pena, Landon Barker, Bradyn Korenek, Aaron Bubela, Jerrick Garcia, Kade Smith, Chase Starling, and Coach Arthur Ruiz

The 15-year-old team played in the Texas State Tournament in Nederland, Texas. They lost the championship game to the Nederland team after an amazing effort with only nine players.

Courtesy photo. Back row left to right: Manager Juan Jasso, Coach Cody Sweat, Daiten Hubenak, Aleric Medrano, Sammy Mendez, Kyler Sweat, Johnny Perez, Michael Hufnagel, Coach Adam Resendez
Front row left to right: Westin Brown, Decameron Jasso, Drake Resendez

Kyler Sweat, from Boling, was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

Courtesy photo. 15-year-old All Star Texas State Tournament Most Valuable Player, Kyler Sweat of Boling.

The 16-18-year-old team also traveled to Nederland, Texas, for the Southwest Regional Tournament and lost in the championship game to Nederland. This team was mainly made up of 16-year-olds, and they played well against older teams.

Courtesy photo. Front Row left to right: Ryan Cruz, Hayden Albert, Caiden Schulz, Korbyn Hudgins, Jaden Compian, Andrew Gonzales, Ryan Mendiok, Ryan Guzman, Zane Thurmond
Back Row left to right: Manager Roy Mendiola, Taylor Manrriquez, Reid Morton, Chase Winkelman, Larry Mendez, Lance Kocian, Colby Chilek, Shavoy Bentancur, Coach Shawn Chilek, Coach Rick Duran
Not Pictured:  Blain Zulauf, Preston Sanchez

In addition to having a great time learning more about the game, Babe Ruth baseball is a place where new friendships are made.

“One of the amazing things about the Babe Ruth League is that it really brings the community and kids together for a common purpose,” Smith told The Gin.

“Rivalries between schools and towns disappear as kids and coaches from different places get to know each other through the game of baseball.” 

Looking toward the future

“I hope that positivity keeps spreading and we grow even more next year.”

The League would not exist without the work of many volunteers from across the area.

The league is always looking for more volunteers.  The dedicated four person board currently includes President Grady Smith, William Loocke, who also serves as the Babe Ruth State Commissioner, Anton Peter, and Scott Kocian — all of Wharton.

“We need board members, help recruiting more players, and help with fundraising,” said Smith.  “Our goal is to make sure the cost to the players to participate is as low as possible.”

After a successful season, Smith is already looking forward to next year saying, “All the feedback from players, coaches, and parents this year was very positive.

“I hope that positivity keeps spreading and we grow even more next year.”

For more information about Wharton Babe Ruth and for volunteer opportunities, visit http://whartontxbaberuth.website.sportssignup.com.

Stephanie Schulzhttps://www.thecountygin.com
Stephanie Schulz is a lifelong Wharton County resident and a farmer’s daughter. She enjoys a good story and loves God, her family and all things Texas. Outside of her position at Shoppa’s Farm Supply, she enjoys photographing and writing about life in Wharton County.

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