Twin Cities Babe Ruth is about to offer more than ever to youth sluggers after it joined forces with EnFuego Baseball Academy, a player development organization that hosts instruction sessions and creates elite youth travel teams.
The news, announced by Twin Cities Babe Ruth President Bryan Porter on Jan. 22, means local Babe Ruth players, ages 13 to 15 years old, will receive a higher level of training, not just for advanced players but for intermediate ones as well.
“I want players to be excited when they come play for us and to play on our fields, and watch them grow into quality ballplayers,” Porter said in a Facebook post Jan. 22. “I’m truly excited about the future of Babe Ruth. Our community has really come together to show their support with sponsorship so no player is left out. No matter what skill level your player is at, they are always welcome at Twin Cities Babe Ruth.”
EnFuego President Steve Avila, who was formerly the Cleveland Indians’ northwest scouting supervisor, already has a storied history helping Twin Cities youth reach the next level. Drew Reynolds, a W.F. West senior, who is currently on one of EnFuego’s elite travel teams, earned a scholarship with Texas Tech University in August with Avila’s help.
Other current W.F. West students who are also EnFuego players and have earned college scholarships are Max Taylor (Paradise Valley Community College), Brit Lusk (Treasure Valley Community College) and Tanner Vaughn (University of Oregon).
Avila also helped 2019 W.F. West grad Brock Jones, who was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in July 2019. Robert Pehl, a 2011 W.F. West grad, is currently playing in the Kansas City Royals’ minor league system.
“For EnFuego to partner with Twin Cities on facility development and to participate in player development is a no brainer,” Porter said. “I have always said there is some special water in Lewis County with all the talented players coming out of the community. EnFuego looks forward to the journey and future in developing a home base in Lewis County and working with Twin Cities Babe Ruth.”
The partnership will start with offering baseball clinics for both players and coaches to help develop hidden talent, work on team building, strength and mental self-confidence, Porter said. All players will have the opportunity to try out for an all-star team that will represent the Twin Cities throughout the Pacific Northwest in tournament play.
“I’m confident that playing for us will improve playing skills and also have a huge impact on self confidence,” Porter said.
Twin Cities Babe Ruth’s season starts the beginning of May and training will begin right away. There will also be some field upgrades this year at Stan Hedwall Park. Twin Cities Babe Ruth, EnFuego and Chehalis Parks and Recreation are currently figuring out a timeline of when to start phase one of the field improvements. Those will include:
• Level sand and aerate infield
• Cut out sod around bases, home plate and mound
• Install synthetic turf on bases and replace new, natural sod where needed
• Build and compact bases for pouring new concrete mounds on field and bullpen
• Install synthetic turf on field and bullpen mounds
• Fencing installed from dugouts to back of the infield arch. New safety caps and safety fence for the back of bullpen. Backstop will be added or improved as needed
• New, larger dugouts with concrete floors and fencing with storage
• New bases and mound runners and plates for infield and bullpen
• New steel foul poles
“If you know me, then you know that everything I do is for the best interest of the kids/players,” Porter said. “I care about building a positive environment for the players and for our community that we live in. With EnFuego baseball, I’m able to provide excellent training camps with some of the best trainers around, so we can offer more competitive ball and have the best organization around.”