Youth baseball champions return home

Atlantic Beach Suns return after placing second in Cal Ripken World Series

By Ashley Mitchem - Reporter, anchor

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. - It was a homecoming for local champions.

The Atlantic Beach Suns youth baseball team returned home Saturday after claiming second place in the Cal Ripken World Series in Branson, Missouri.

The boys really knocked it out of the park in Branson. Of the 24 teams from all over the world that participated, they finished second.

“It’s just amazing!” Suns player Malachi Witherspoon said. “We are the second-best team in the world. That’s just great!”

The team got its chance to play in the tournament after winning the 2017 Southeast Regional Championship.
Players told News4Jax it wasn’t just their skills on the diamond that took them all the way to the Cal Ripken World Series, it was their love for each other.

“I just think we’re a very well-rounded team and we love each other to death. Our hard work really brought us here,” Suns player Jack McGuiness said. “To be so successful is just amazing for all of us.”

“We have to rely on our teammates, and we love them,” Suns player Kyson Witherspoon said. “We trust them and that’s why we kept our head in the game.”

Although the boys placed second, they are first in many Atlantic Beach hearts. The team grandmother, “Grammy,” has a grandson on the team and her son-in-law is the coach. She said the players' families have been behind them every step of the way.

“The families that support them and the mothers that wash their uniforms and run the family around them, it’s just amazing,” Grammy said.

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