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Tryout dates set for new 10-under travel team

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Updated: September 30, 2012 6:10AM

A new travel baseball team for players in the 10-under age division (age as of May 1, 2013) is being formed in the Zion/Waukegan/Gurnee area.

The Lake County Devils will hold tryouts on Sept. 8, 22 and 23, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. each day, at Hermon Park on 29th Street in Zion.

Players only need to attend one tryout date and there is no cost to try out.

The cost for players will be $375, plus a commitment to raise additional money through individual and group fund-raisers.

Parents/guardians will be expected to attend and participate with the players. The cost covers uniforms, umpires, field costs, insurance and league registration.

Coaches are looking for competitive players who are committed to a higher level of baseball.

Based on location, the Devils will be an excellent travel option for players who live in the Zion, Waukegan, Gurnee, Antioch, and Lake Villa area, but players from throughout the county are welcome to try out.

The Lake County Devils Baseball organization, which is currently pursuing not-for- profit status, is comprised of a group of parents, who after a few years of watching their kids play in recreational leagues wanted to give their children the opportunity to grow and pursue the elite competition of travel baseball.

They group selected Sam Castillo as head coach. He’ll be assisted by Louie Torres and Joey Ratliff.

The plan is to add age levels in coming seasons between 11-under and 18-under.

Anyone interested in coaching, volunteering, or playing should contact the Lake County Devils @ Or visit Web site

Sam has coached his son for the last 4 years and his youngest daughter for a year. Sam played baseball for many years with the neighborhood kids.

They would go to Dugdale Park and get everyone together to let the competition begin. After some years of playing with the neighbors Sam’s parents decided to start him in the Waukegan Park District baseball program where he played for several years with his schoolmates and friends.

He learned from several different coaches throughout the years that had a positive influence on the field and off. Besides being positive role models in his life he learned the meaning of dedication, hard work and team work.

“I never really understood all of the positive things that baseball influenced in my life but I am so glad that those coaches volunteered their time. Now it’s my turn to give back to my children and the community just as those unselfish coaches did for me. I want to help our youth, our community, benefit just like I did.

“I am not alone in pursuing our travel team as two of my very talented past fellow teammates and friends from Waukegan’s Park district program are here to stand with me and help our future ball players out.”

Torres is 32 years old, born in Caguas, Puerto Rico and raised in Waukegan.

He started playing baseball in 1989 for the Waukegan park district, Waukegan Traveling (Rebels) and North Chicago Legion League. He played all four years of baseball for Waukegan High School, three of the four on Varsity. In 1996 Louie was a part of Waukegan High School Regional Champions. For the past 10 years he has been playing in the Hector Espino Baseball League of Lake County.

Currently a Kenosha resident, Louie enjoys teaching the youth the fundamentals of the game and passing along his 23 years of experience with baseball.

Ratliff now 30, has been playing ball for about 25 years. He’s played for the Lake County Chiefs, while playing; he threw for a combined no hitter in the 1st state championship and went to AAU nationals both years.

He was one of 15 kids selected to play overseas in the Pan Am games in Belgium.

Additionally Joe has been playing men’s softball for 12 years with the “What Softball team”. Softball has taken Joe to Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and South Carolina Tournaments.

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