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Cal Ripken Little Leaguers pitch perfect Opening Day

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  • | 5:00 a.m. March 1, 2011
Jo Jo Williams races down the line toward first base.
Jo Jo Williams races down the line toward first base.
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HERITAGE HARBOUR — Five-year-old Trent Goodman ran out onto the field and assumed his position at second base — all the while grinning from ear to ear.

It had been four months since Trent ran out onto the diamond with the rest of his teammates, and the Cal Ripken Little Leaguer couldn’t contain his excitement. In October, Trent broke his leg while playing at school. He spent three weeks in the hospital and was forced to sit out the rest of the fall season.

But not even a broken leg and a full body cast could keep Trent away from the ballpark. Instead, Trent came out to every game in his wheelchair to cheer on his teammates.

Trent eventually learned how to walk again; and on Feb. 26, Trent ran out onto the field with his Kansas City Royals teammates for the first time since his injury.

“I’m having fun,” Trent said. “I like batting because I get to hit the ball, and I like to catch the ball.”

Trent was one of more than 450 players who took to the field last Saturday for Cal Ripken Little League’s Opening Day celebration. This spring, the league features 32 teams, ranging in age from coach pitch to Majors.

“I enjoy seeing all of the kids in their uniforms and seeing them excited to play baseball,” Manatee Cal Ripken Little League coach Brian Hedgepeth said. “They really love the game of baseball and they’re excited to be out here. It’s just the feeling of spring.”

Each of the 32 teams played its first game of the season on Opening Day; and while the majority of the players had played before, for some, it was there first time stepping out of the dugout.

“I wanted to play because I was out of soccer,” 5-year-old Sebastian Caro said. “I’m just growing. Soccer is for 4-year-olds. So I’m here now.”

The Manatee Cal Ripken Little League spring season will run through May. For more information on Manatee Cal Ripken Little League at Heritage Harbour, visit the league’s website at

Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].


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