Members of Ball Park Motors of Virginia are pictured after they finished first in the Illinois Amateur Softball Association Class C Co-Ed tournament last year at Moore Park. Sports Tap of Alton finished second in last year’s 18-team tournament.
State softball returns to Alton in a big way next weekend.
The Amateur Softball Association will play host to its annual Class C co-ed state tournament Aug. 14-15 at Gordon F. Moore Park. The Illinois co-ed finals are a summer staple on the four slow-pitch fields.
“We had 18 teams last year and we have 17 this year, so I think we are doing well,” said ASA senior vice-president Leroy Emerick of Wood River. “It’s pretty much the same teams we had last year. There should be quality competition.”
Ball Park Motors of Virginia, near Jacksonville, can attest to that. It roared out of the losers’ bracket last year to claim its third consecutive Illinois title. Local team Revolution finished first in 2012.
Sports Tap of Alton snared second last summer, followed by Nergenan Farm of Chapin, Danville Lineoff, Lotawata Creek of Fairview Heights and Cat Daddy’s of Alton.
It’s Ball Park opening defense of its title at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14, against I’d Hit It. Ball Park will debut on Diamond No. 3 in the double-elimination affair.
No fewer than 13 games are scheduled the first night. The remaining 24 or 25 games, including the championship contest, are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 15. Sunday, Aug. 16, will serve as a rain date.
The state champ advances to the nationals in Rolla, Mo., starting Aug. 22.
Westco may be the top local team to watch. It features players from last year’s Sports Tap team, plus ones from the AMF squad that won the Class D men’s title last month in Decatur. Westco meets Stewart’s Auto Body at 7 p.m. Aug. 14 in the tourney opener on Diamond No. 1.
Cutting Edge of Godfrey may be another local team to eye. The remainder of the field includes: Miss-N-Hitters, Chaos, 4 R’s Barbecue, K&VSteel, Woodchuck’s, Danville Lineoff, LJW Tax Service, Streder Mechanical, Fourth Street Lanes, Balls Deep and Construction Nation.
Dean Emerick, Leroy’s youngest son, has replaced his dad, age 90, as tournament director. And Dean is planning additional events for this year’s finals.
“We will have skills competition on the first night (Aug. 14) of the tournament,” he said. “There will be a home-run hitting contest for the men and the women. The women will hit from second base.
“We will also have a running competition and a team event, where all the players from each team get on the field and throw the ball around.”
Dean added, “We wanted to try some new things in hopes of getting more teams to come to the state tournament in the future. We want to raise our numbers.”
All tourney teams get to play three games this year.
Last year’s all-tourney team included: MVPs Travis Steer and Sarah Lange of Ball Park Motors, plus teammates Murray Wortman, Marc Luttrell and Cami Chrisman. Matt Shampine, Amy Cook and Megan Stewart of Sports Tap also were selected to the team. So were Levi Graham and Crystal Miller of Nergenan Farm, along with Darrell Johnson and Erin Hughes of Danville Lineoff.
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