TOPSHAM — It’s been a whirlwind summer for the Ararat 12U Cal Ripken All-Stars.

The talented and close-knit group rolled through the district tournament and then stormed states to reach the New England regional. Ararat didn’t stop there, as it took the crown in convincing fashion to reach the Cal Ripken World Series next month in Palm Beach, Florida.

“I never would have imagined that I would have a child playing on a big stage like this one,” said Samantha DeHahn, mother of Ararat player Trevor Adams. “The experience these guys have received is amazing, and the World Series will just add to that.”

Ararat 12U pitcher Colby MacFawn (17) smiles as members of the New England regional championship team take a break during practice Monday in Topsham. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

But as the euphoria of another championship settles, families are faced with a new reality: Prepping for an unexpected trip that carries a big financial burden.

There are plane tickets to purchase, lodgings to book and cars to rent. Furthermore, another long tournament — this one some 1,500 miles away — means more time off from work for many parents, which can be stressful.

“Both me and my husband Phil are doing what we can to get some time off without losing so much pay,” said DeHahn, of Bowdoinham. “We’re just trying to manage it how we can.”

DeHahn added that four of her six immediate family members will make the trip to the World Series, which begins Aug. 7. However, the families’ two youngest children won’t go because of the financial burden. The team is scheduled to stay in Florida for 10 days and nine nights, from Aug. 6-15.

DeHahn is hardly the only parent feeling the stress that comes with planning this trip.

“It’s been a hectic past couple of days,” said Michael Thibeault of Bowdoin, whose son Tyler is on the team. “I already bought our plane tickets so it’s a little stressful right now. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these kids and we want to do everything we can do to make it the best experience we can. We certainly appreciate the efforts being put forward in terms of the expenses.”

To help offset costs, Ararat is trying to raise money through fundraisers. The team plans to hold a car wash at Tire Warehouse in Topsham from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Assistant coach Rob Beal set up a GoFundMe page, as well. As of Tuesday afternoon, the team had raised $12,500 of its $60,000 goal.

Ararat 12U slugger Tyler Thibeault, left, heads into the batting cage as Daniel Beal, front, takes a swing during practice Monday night in Topsham. Looking on in back is Tyler’s father, Michael Thibeault. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“The main purpose is so we (the team) can go down there and have fun while focusing on baseball,” said Beal, whose son, Daniel, is one of the team’s top pitchers. “We don’t want any underlying stressors during this experience. We just want to enjoy the moment. … The number was an initial suggestion based on a different team that was from New Hampshire. We divided it up and took an average around $5,000 per family to come up with the $60,000.”

Brooke Beal, Daniel’s mother, said families are working tirelessly to make the trip a reality.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” she said. “You don’t really anticipate all the work that goes into organizing an event of this magnitude until you’re actually a part of it.”

Ararat 12U Cal Ripken assistant coach James Millson (white shirt) talks to players during practice Monday in Topsham. The Ararat All-Stars held their first practice since winning the New England regional title in Berwick last week. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Ararat is comprised of 12 players who represent Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Harpswell, Richmond and Topsham. The team has four coaches, all of whom are parents.

The team is set to fly out sometime next week.

“The fact that this has come together in such a short amount of time is a testament to the commitment of everyone involved,” said Rob Beal. “It’s quite an honor for us to be representing Maine, and the support we’ve received just makes the community even prouder.”

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