Teams locking up spots for RBI World Series
Three final participants to be determined via regional tournament
Twenty-one down, three to go.
The RBI World Series -- the culmination of the continuously growing Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities season -- is one week away, and 21 of the 24 teams that will participate have been decided via seven regional tournaments.
The 19th annual RBI World Series will take place in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area, with the baseball championships taking place at the Twins' home of Target Field and the softball championships being played at the University of Minnesota.
The tournament will take place Aug. 2-14 and will be composed of eight teams in each of three divisions: Senior Baseball (16- to 18-year-olds), Junior Baseball (13- to 15-year-olds) and Girls Softball (19 and under).
The 24 representatives are composed of the three divisional winners in eight different regions. As of Tuesday, seven of those regions had crowned champs, with the Northeast Regional Tournament -- the largest of them all -- taking place Thursday-Monday.
The representatives for the seven other regions are as follows:
Senior Baseball: Union League Boys & Girls Club/Chicago RBI (Central region), Harrisburg RBI (Mid-Atlantic), Tampa Boys & Girls Club RBI (Southeast), Houston RBI (Southwest), Venice Boys and Girls Club RBI (West), Cleveland Baseball Federation RBI (East), Venezuela RBI (Caribbean).
Junior Baseball: Chicago White Sox RBI (Central), Philadelphia Phillies RBI (Mid-Atlantic), RBI Atlanta (Southeast), Houston RBI (Southwest), L.A. RBI (West), Think Detroit PAL/Orchard Children's Services (East), RBI Dominicana (Caribbean).
Girls Softball: Mathews-Dickey Boys & Girls Club in St. Louis (Central), Harrisburg RBI (Mid-Atlantic), RBI Atlanta (Southeast), Houston RBI (Southwest), L.A. RBI (West), Cleveland Baseball Federation RBI (East), RBI Santo Domingo (Caribbean).
"We've been very pleased with the regional tournaments," RBI director David James said. "We had several first-time regional hosts this year, and they all did phenomenal jobs along with the fantastic work that has always been done by previous year regional hosts. Very excited about all the teams that came out of all those regionals, looking forward to spending time with them over the next few weeks in Minneapolis."
In its second full year with the Junior RBI program, RBI now provides free baseball and softball to more than 200,000 youngsters worldwide. In the program's 22-year history, more than 190 previous participants have been taken in the First-Year Player Draft, including the likes of Carl Crawford, CC Sabathia and Justin Upton.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.