GREENVILLE – The Greenville Citizens Baseball League (GCBL) will be hosting the 33rd annual Annie Oakley Classic baseball tournament July 12-14 at Greenville’s Sater Heights Ballpark, home of the GCBL.
“This was the city’s original tournament” said GCBL commissioner Ryan Delk. “Back in the day they had one tournament. It was started it 30 some years ago. For many years, a good 15-20 this was the only one they had every year – so it was very well known.”
“It started back in the 50’s by our fathers and grandfathers,” Delk said of Sater Park. “They started from scratch out here. That’s a pretty big feat. I can’t imagine what they went through to get to where we are today.”
Teams competing in the Friday, Saturday and Sunday weekend tournament will include 8U, 9U, 10U, 12U, 13U and 14U teams.
“We are up to 32 or more teams,” Delk noted. “We still have a few spots open in 8U and 10U but the rest of them are filled up.”
Licensed officials will make up the umpiring crews for all games played with each team guaranteed to play no less than three games.
“We use an arbiter to schedule our umpires,” Delk stated. “They are all Ohio High School certified umpires whether they are officiating an 8U game or a 14U game. Those guys are used to doing 16, 17 year old high school kids and hats off to those guys out there in the heat.”
“Sometime fans, parents and coaches get a little frustrated with them and they shake it off and do their job,” continued Delk. “They are there for the kids – yes they get paid, but at the end of the day they stand out there in the heat all day – it’s not just for the check.”
The GCBL program, known for its excellent concession stand food and drinks will once again showcase Winners Meats.
“The concession stand will be rockin’,” said Delk. “We’re going to have Winners marinated pork chops and Winners hamburgers again. We will have the Walking Tacos, hot dogs and Sno Shack will be there.”
The Sater Park concession stand provides a convenient place for parents to feed the entire family very reasonably without leaving the park when games start stacking up.
“Our food is not high-priced,” said Delk. “It is something that a family can stay at the park and not have to leave, eat an affordable meal and feed the whole family a good meal. People love the pork chops, people love the hamburgers. They are all grilled.”
“We buy good quality products,” Delk continued. “It is something we pride ourselves on. You always have that option to stay at the park, especially on Sunday when you may be playing back-to-back-to-back-to-back tournament games and you need to feed your family. We have umpires that come up and say, ‘save me back five pork chops because when I get done that’s what I want to take home.’”
“With my son playing Junior Legion ball we did some traveling to Michigan,” shared Delk. “It was a great city where we went but the ballfield wasn’t that great, no concessions, a porta-john, mediocre field and you had to play $8 a person to get in and watch your kid play, so I think sometimes we take it for granted here in Greenville and Darke County.”
The Annie Oakley Classic brings many teams from a far distance to the community for the weekend.
“Teams from Chillicothe, Dayton, Cincinatti, Indiana teams, a lot of teams that come and stay all night, stay in the hotels, camp at the fairgrounds go to the Maid Rite, go to McDonalds, the gas stations, sunflower seeds, Gatorade, Walmart all those things,” Delk conclude. “It definitely has a positive financial impact on the city.”
Contact Sports Editor Gaylen Blosser at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 853-6390-Ext. 1751. Read more news, features and sports a DarkeCountyMedia.com.