Team-Cali players are (L to R): Cameron Jones, Kashka Dudley, Bradley Young, Damon Evans, Darmany Swift, Riley Simmons, Rupert Watson, Blake Grant-Parks, Tyrone Bowie, Payton Simmons, Josh Pigg, Malik Pruitt, in the foreground are (L-R): Head Coach Brent Thibeaux, Steve McClendon and WIllie Simmons.
For the fourth straight year, Team-Cali from Oakland has reached the championship game in the Metropolitan Junior Baseball League Black (MJBL) World Series.
The Black World Series, held annually in collaboration with different Black colleges, was hosted this year by Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia.
Team-Cali is led by head coach and MJBL Northern California commissioner Brent Thibeaux, Commissioner Stephen G. McClendon and coach Willie Simmons.
Players on the team are 15-19 years old and come from the Sacramento area, Fairfield, Vallejo, Yuba and Oakland.
Money to pay for airfare and accommodations was provided through generous donations from Oakland and Richmond businesses, raised in only two weeks.
The trip provides young people with opportunities to explore options to reach educational and athletic aspirations that might not exist in California. The young athletes toured Virginia Union University learning about the history of the school and what it takes to become a college student.
Team-Cali made it it to the playoffs after beating teams from Richmond, VA, Detroit, Connecticut, Washington D.C. to earn the chance play at the Giants affiliate minor league stadium in front of 4,000 people against the R&B Aggies of Greensboro, NC.
The game was lost by an early first inning 3-0 score, then in the fourth inning a 4-0 score, and in the fifth another run. Team-Cali never recovered, going down 8-0.
The game was televised on Telos, the first ever televised 19U championship game in MJBL history
Team-Cali’s pitcher Josh Pigg was offered baseball scholarships to attend Grambling State University and Jackson State University.
For information about Team-Cali, call Coach Brent Thibeaux at (510) 285-7111