Host families create rich experiences for 14U players
Murray • Three years ago, a family hosted a boy named Mason. He had traveled to Utah to play in the Babe Ruth 13U World Series, which Ken Price Park was hosting for the first time. Not long after that, the mother had a baby boy. She named him Mason.Those are the stories event organizers hope for each year with the Babe Ruth World Series. This summer, with Murray hosting the 14U edition of the tournament, 38 families offered to host 107 boys from eight other states. Nine of them were second-time volunteers, so happy with their first go-round that they signed up for round two.The families commit to as many as 10 days of hosting (and feeding) two to four teenage boys. As part of what some call the "Babe Ruth experience," the kids spend every night with their host families.They can spend time with their parents during the day before being released after their tournament run; otherwise, it's a time for them to bond with another family and be immersed in the area.Taylorsville's Kathy Chism, for example, hosted three boys from Twin Cities (Wash.) the team that beat Newburgh (Ind.) 6-0 Thursday night to advance to the World Series semifinals. They will face undefeated Jacksonville (Fla.) Friday for a shot at the title game.Chism, who cooks breakfast for the kids every morning, also made sure they had activities planned in their free time. Nolan Hawkins, Garrett Hicks and Jake Sutton named the team's MVP for Thursday's contest after pitching a complete game would go out for a round of mini golf or play ping-pong against Chism. (She usually won.) Their favorite trip, though, was to Park City."Every day, she takes us to do something just to have fun," Hicks said. "It's just as fun for her as it is for us."Chism, whose four children are ages 23 to 31, said she was happy to have the boys around. Her own sons had passed through the Babe Ruth system years ago; one, Tyler, was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 2011. When the 13U World Series came to Murray, she didn't hesitate to help out.Other parents tell similar stories. Murray's Kim Hadfield, another repeat host, still keeps in touch with the boys she hosted in 2009. Already a mother to three children of her own, she inherited three more from Jacksonville. No trouble at all, she said."Being able to root for them, I feel like their second mom," Hadfield said.
Babe Ruth 14U World Series
• Twin Cities (Wash.) 6, Newburgh (Ind.) 0
• Westchester (Calif.) 8, Mineral Area (Mo.) 3
Friday semifinals schedule
• Twin Cities (Wash.) vs. Jacksonville (Fla.), 5:30 p.m.
• Westchester vs. Branchburg (N.J.), 8 p.m.