Rookie 7 team completes ‘Season to Remember’Published 9:21am Thursday, July 10, 2014
By Nick Sellers | Staff Reporter
MADISON – Brian Hinson, head coach of the Rookie 7 Orioles baseball team that went 19-0 and recently won the tournament championship believes a chance encounter with a baseball legend spurred the team to its good fortune.
The player? Cal Ripken, Jr., the former Baltimore Oriole who holds the MLB record for the most consecutive games played at 2,632. Hinson ran into Ripken at the Grand Marlin restaurant in Pensacola Beach just weeks before his son, Andrew Hinson, chose to don Ripken’s No. 8 for the 7 and under Orioles team for the Madison Baseball Association.
“It started off as kind of a magical season,” Hinson said.
The team competed in the Rookie league, which is the third of six leagues in the association. The Orioles competed against roughly 10 teams in the league and concluded its thrilling postseason run in the championship game with a 14-7 victory over the Astros at Dublin Park.
“We had two, probably three close games throughout the season,” Hinson said.
The team’s players, like all other teams in the Rookie league, were selected in a draft process before the season. However, the MBA’s website states the “No. 1 goal is that these players want to play again next year. There is plenty of time to be serious in later leagues.”
The Orioles ran the table in the 16-game regular season and won all three postseason games in the Dizzy Dean tournament.
“I just think it speaks volumes about the kids and how much they wanted to play,” Hinson said.