Calling it “an opportunity of a lifetime,” Eli Snyder will join the Jamestown Krusaders roster at this year’s Babe Ruth 13-15 World Series from Aug. 12-19 at Diethrick Park in Jamestown, New York.
Since the Warren sophomore catcher would like to play baseball beyond high school, he thought “it would be a good way to get my name out there and have the chance to play against the top teams from across the U.S.”
He’s not wrong.
The 2023 World Series will mark the 19th time it’s being held in Jamestown since 1980 — on a field where former major leaguers have played.
Joining the Jamestown hosts this summer will be teams from Beekman, New York; Opp, Alabama; Broomall, Pennsylvania; Norwalk, Connecticut; Portland, Oregon; Torrance, California; Greenville, North Carolina; Moorhead, Minnesota; and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
“It’s sort of a Jamestown and Chautauqua County thing,” host president Russell E. Diethrick Jr. told The Post-Journal back in 2021 when the city hosted the 13-and-under World Series. “When Babe Ruth Baseball looks for a place that is a meaningful experience, they have found that in Jamestown. They have found it year after year after year.”
Snyder doesn’t want to miss it this year.
“I haven’t played in anything on this level,” he said. “I’ve played in a lot of tournaments with my travel team — the Erie Outlaws — and have played against some pretty great teams. I played in the Ripken Experience in Maryland when I was 10, on fields that were like smaller versions of Major League fields like Fenway or Wrigley Field, but nothing like Diethrick Park.”
Players with birth dates between May 1, 2007, to April 30, 2010, who live in or attend schools in Chautauqua County, Warren County School District or Cattaraugus County (west of Route 219) were eligible to try out.
“I’m really excited to be playing on this team for this tournament,” said Snyder, the only Jamestown Krusaders player from Warren. “I had tried out for the Babe Ruth World Series team a couple of years ago, but I decided not to finish the tryouts. It was announced that Jamestown would be hosting the series again this year and the coach (Shane Swan) reached out and asked if I was willing to try out for this year’s team. Tryouts began in February and I was selected to be a part of the team in May. The tryouts were fun to do, especially with all the great competition I had to go through to get on the team. Practices are every Tuesday and Wednesday for now, but as soon as we get closer to the tournaments, we are going to be practicing every day to get ready. I’ve been practicing at shortstop, second and third base, and pitching.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to show others my talent, and to show that a kid from a small town such as Warren can play baseball at the next level.
“My goals for this high school year are to do the best that I can to help out my team in any way possible,” added Snyder. “I’m hoping to fill the catcher’s position. Playing in this tournament will help me become a better baseball player and prepare me for the upcoming season, as well as helping me focus on my goal of playing ball at the next level. My long-term goal is to, hopefully, play baseball in college. Baseball is my favorite sport. I would play it every day if I could.”
Snyder thinks these types of experiences with these types of coaches and players will help get him there.
“Definitely playing in the Babe Ruth World Series is one experience, as well as high school ball and my travel team,” he said. “Playing against competitive teams helps me get better as a player. I love the game and am grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“I would like to give a special shoutout to all the coaches over the years,” Snyder added. “From the age of 7, I have played for the Erie Outlaws. I cannot thank my cousin, Scott Baldi, enough for asking me to try out for this league. And, to all of my coaches, Jeff ‘Eggs’ Benedict, Daryl Kania, Paul Kruszewski, Todd Ish, Doug Friedman, Mike Folmar, Justin Lackey, Kyle Chylinski, Edwin Almonte, Eric Haglund and, last but not least, Jim Beers. I am looking forward to the next few years of playing for the Warren Dragons — Breathe Fire — and working with Andrew Morrison, Ed Baldensperger, and Johnny White. And, a special thank you to my mom and dad for the countless hours they have spent driving me to and from practices in Erie for the last eight years.”
They aren’t done yet. Snyder’s Babe Ruth World Series team is raising funds to help with expenses, including uniforms, equipment and the tournament, as well as inquiring about host families for visiting teams. For more information, email jamest[email protected] or visit the Jamestown BRWS Facebook page.