Youth baseball: Junior tourney opens with format switch
By Mike Clark Post-Tribune correspondent July 24, 2013 11:04PM
Updated: August 26, 2013 4:31PM
After hosting 14 state tournaments in nine seasons as Indiana District 1 Little League administrator, Steve Heck figured he’d take it a little easier this summer.
District 1 is running just one Little League state tourney — and with District 2 taking the summer off from hosting duties, it’s the only one in Northwest Indiana in 2013.
But that tourney — Junior League baseball (13-14), which runs Thursday through Monday in Portage — did throw Heck a curveball.
In order to give teams more games and fans more incentive to travel, Little League has adopted a pool-play format for its state tournaments. Heck welcomed the move.
“I like pool play,” he said. “I know who’s playing when and where. It’s beautiful.”
But sometimes it’s not workable. That’s the case with the Junior League tourney, with one of the qualifying teams dropping out too late to find a replacement.
Down to seven teams, the tourney had to switch to a double-elimination format. There are two local entries in District 1 champ Valparaiso, which opens at 8 p.m. Thursday vs. Wabash, and District 2 representative Lowell, which drew a bye. Lowell’s first game will be at 2 p.m. Friday against the winner of Thursday’s Franklin Township/Bedford game.
“This is the first time I’ve had a double-elimination tournament for real in eight years,” Heck said. “It’s going to be a new experience.”
Chiefs seeking players: The Indiana Chiefs of Hammond, who are fielding two teams this season, will start the process of ramping up to five clubs this weekend.
The Chiefs will hold tryouts for their 13-, 14- and 15-year-old teams Sunday at Riverside Park. The 13 and 15 teams will be new in 2014. Times and coaches are 11 a.m. for the 15s (Todd Iwema), 12:30 p.m. for the 14s (Dustin Sebastian) and 2 p.m. for the 13s (Jim Nohos).
Tryouts for the new 16-year-old team coached by Jim Tucker will be at 11 a.m. on Aug. 11 at Andrean High School, with tryouts for the flagship 17-year-old team run by Chiefs founder Dave Sutkowski to follow at 12:30 p.m.
The Chiefs also are holding tryouts for their two fall teams — high school underclassmen (juniors and younger this fall) and 13-15 — at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. respectively on Aug. 4 at Andrean.
For more information on any of the teams or tryouts, go to hammondchiefs.com or call (219) 852-9461.
Crown Point Babe Ruth registration: Sign-ups for Crown Point Babe Ruth fall baseball will be 1-3 p.m. on Aug. 3 and 10 at the Crown Point Fun Center Dome, 1301 Merrillville Rd. in Crown Point. There are two divisions, 12-14 and 15-18, and full teams are welcome. The cost is $125 for Crown Point players and $145 for others.
For more information, call Don Ernst (219-746-4351), Becky Mild (219-306-6599) or John Pearson (219-682-4351).
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