EAST MANATEE -- The Cal Ripken state tournament for the Southern Region will take place this week for players in the 9-and-under and 11-and-under age divisions at the Manatee Cal Ripken fields in Heritage Harbour, 700 River Heritage Blvd.
The tournament starts Thursday and features 10 teams in the 9-U division and seven teams in the 11-U division.
"It benefits us by showcasing who we are, what we've done, what level we're at as a league in Manatee County," tournament director Judd Scott said of hosting the state tournament.
There are two Manatee teams competing. The 9-U team opens play against Oviedo on at 9 a.m. Thursday. The 11-U Manatee squad battles Treasure Coast at 1 p.m. Thursday.
The tournament is a double-elimination affair. If Manatee wins in the 9-and-younger division, the team will play again at 2 p.m. Thursday. A loss would send it to the loser's bracket on Friday.
The 11-and-younger division team won't play again until Friday whether it wins or loses its opener.
The tournament champions, which will be decided Sunday or Monday, advance to the Southeast Region tournament starting July 23 in Palm Beach Gardens (9-U) and Altamonte Springs (11-U).
There's no World Series for those divisions.