CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) – Hundreds of young baseball players from throughout the mid-atlantic region are converging on Cherry Hill this weekend for the Cal Ripken regional tournament.

Nine-year-olds from the Cherry Hill Youth Athletic Association are preparing to take on teams from Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and Maryland in the tournament. Cherry Hill head coach Shawn Senior, a former Red Sox farmhand, says the kids’ parents have been working hard.

“Working the scoreboard, you have official scorekeepers at each game, snack stand, parking, merchandise, food as far as we’re going to have a whole barbecue on Friday night — skills competition, working on the fields in between games, lining, raking.”

The competition runs Saturday through Wednesday, and Senior says he’s telling his team to seize the day.

“There’s a lot of good teams out there. But to win your state, to move on to regionals and get this opportunity to play against all the best teams throughout four or five states, you may never get this chance again. I hate saying that to nine-year-olds, but you just may not.”

That’s not to put pressure on the kids. Senior says he tells them to savor the moment and above all to have fun.

The tournament opens Saturday at the complex next to the Kingston swim club. A Cal Ripken champion will be crowned next Wednesday.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio 1060

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