It's seeding week for Ashland's two Babe Ruth teams.




The 13-year-old Ashland team plays Central Point and Eagle Point Upper Rogue on Saturday in an abbreviated District 4 tournament that will determine seeds to next week's state tournament &

all three teams will advance to state.




The 14-year-old team faces Eagle Point Upper Rogue at 11 a.m. Saturday at North Mountain Park in another seeding game.




Ashland will not field a 15-year-old Babe Ruth team this season, although several 15-year-olds are playing for the Ashland Pilots, Ashland's American Legion A team.




In the past, the District 4 tournament was used to eliminate one or more teams from state playoff contention, but the Rogue Valley's dwindling Babe Ruth membership in favor of traveling teams has made that process unnecessary.




The 13s will play at 1:30 p.m. Saturday against Central Point and at 4 p.m. against Upper Rogue, with both games being played at Anhorn Field. The 13-year-old state tournament, to be played at Eagle Point's The Yard, will feature more competition and higher stakes: eight teams will compete for one regional playoff berth.




"This gives us an opportunity to kind of raise the level of our play and to see how we stack up against teams that are of a higher caliber," Ashland 13's head coach Paul Westhelle said.




Westhelle's team will be led by sluggers Evan Westhelle-Grant, Jamie Flynn, William Crowley and Logan McKelvey. Westhelle-Grant, Flynn and Crowley also pitch.




"It's much more of a hitter's game at this point," Westhelle said. "The squad has done a really nice job of improving and playing high-caliber ball on the big field."




The 14s will be led at the plate and on the mound by Billy Hansen, Taylor Humphrey and Ethan Schlecht, the threesome that powered the same group to victory in the 11-12 Little League District 6 tournament two years ago.




"From last year we have 10 returning, and last year we did pretty good," head coach Doug Hamel said. "I learned a little bit about coaching at that type of level and we seem to have grown together. Some of these kids I've been with since they were in second grade."