Twins host RBI Central Regional Tournament

August 22nd, 2016
RBI participants got the chance to play at Target Field. (Twins)

On July 18, the baseball championship games of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) Central Regional Tournament were played at Target Field. While holding up their phones to capture the moment, the players took their first steps onto the field. Many had never even been on a Major League field before but they were about to play a baseball game on one.

Split into three divisions, Senior Boys Baseball (18U), Junior Boys Baseball (15U), and Senior Girls Softball (18U), a total of 15 teams congregated from across the Midwest to compete in the weekend tournament. Beginning on July 16, the baseball games were played at Parade Stadium and Neiman Athletic Complex, in Minneapolis, and Toni Stone Stadium in St. Paul. The softball games were held at the Dunning Softball Complex in St. Paul.

After the 14-game round-robin portion of the tournament, only six teams, and three games, remained. In the first of two championship games at Target Field, the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox met up for the junior baseball championship game - the White Sox took the victory. The second game featured the home team, the Minnesota Twins, taking on the Milwaukee Brewers in the senior baseball championship game Brewers defeated the Twins.

While the baseball games were going on at Target Field, the St. Louis Cardinal and the Minnesota Twins, were playing their softball championship game at the Dunning Softball Complex. Although the Twins RBI softball team won the tournament last year, they lost to the Cardinals this time around.

By winning the RBI Central Regional Tournament, the teams qualified for the RBI World Series, hosted by the Cincinnati Reds. At the RBI World Series, the White Sox captured the Junior Baseball Division Championship, while Arizona took the trophy for the Senior Baseball Division Championship. The Senior Softball Division was won by the Dominican Republic.

RBI is an international initiative of Major League Baseball for youth in urban areas, ages 8-18. Administered globally by MLB, the program is designed to increase participation and interest in baseball and softball among underserved youth; encourage academic participation and achievement; increase number of talented athletes prepared to play in college and minor leagues; and promote greater inclusion of minorities into the game.

The Minnesota Twins RBI program is operated in partnership with MLB, Twins Community Fund, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation. The Twins RBI program serves nearly 5,000 youth in the Twin Cities.

This year marked the fifth time that the Twins have hosted the RBI Central Regional Tournament in the past ten years. The Twins also hosted the RBI World Series from 2011-2013.