VERSAILLES – The second round of the Craig Stammen Classic youth baseball tournament will begin Thursday and continue through Saturday around Versailles.
The tournament, which was renamed the Craig Stammen Classic this year in honor of Versailles High School alumnus and Washington Nationals pitcher Craig Stammen, kicked off during Father’s Day weekend with the 11U tournament. The 8U, 9U and 10U portions of the tournament were postponed until this week because of rain.
The tournament’s namesake was able to watch the conclusion of the nine-team 11U tournament on Father’s Day in North Star, his hometown, as Troy beat Marion Local for the 11U championship in a tournament that also included teams from Anna, Coldwater, Fort Loramie, Russia, St. Henry and Versailles.
“It was one of the most satisfying things I’ve been able to do here to get home for Father’s Day and get to watch a bunch of young kids play ball with their parents coaching them,” Stammen said.
As a professional baseball player, it was the first time Stammen was able to be home with his father for Father’s Day in more than a decade. They were able to spend the day together watching baseball, and Craig caught the tournament’s ceremonial first pitch from his father, Jeff.
“Baseball has always been a big thing with me and my dad,” Stammen said. “It’s always been one thing we’ve shared together.”
It was very satisfying to spend Father’s Day at home watching baseball with his father, and it also was special for Stammen to see the Craig Stammen Classic played at North Star, which was his home field in Little League.
“It was kind of neat to watch some games there,” Stammen said. “I haven’t been back and watched many games there in a while. It brought back a lot of memories.”
It was fun to see the pure innocence of kids and how much they loved to compete and play baseball games, Stammen said. He also said he hopes his success and the success of Maria Stein’s Cory Luebke, who also played on the North Star diamond, helps inspire kids to keep pursuing their dreams.
Stammen won’t be able to attend the second portion of the Craig Stammen Classic this week as he’ll be in Washington, D.C., with his National teammates as they begin a home stand this week against the San Francisco Giants.
It’s been 10 weeks since Stammen had season-ending surgery to repair a torn a flexor tendon in his right forearm, and he said he’s feeling pretty good. He doesn’t have a brace on his arm and can do pretty much anything except throw a 90 mph fastball, he said.
“It’s going really well,” he said. “That will take time and some patience.”