For The Tribune
Parks in Seymour will be busy hosting youth softball and baseball tournaments throughout the summer.
Beginning this weekend, Seymour will conduct tournaments, sponsored by the Seymour Park and Recreation Department, as well as various softball and baseball organizations every weekend through mid-August.
“Last year there were about three, and this year there is going to be 16,” said Jason Kleber, athletics director at the Park Department.
The Thunder Classic begins tonight and continues through Sunday. There are 54 teams entered; baseball divisions for teams aged seven through 12 and softball for ages 8, 10, 12 and 14.
Kleber said these tournaments were added so Seymour teams would have a chance to play on their home fields, and for the impact they will have on the local economy.
“We want to show off everything that Seymour has to offer, and to keep our kids from having to travel every weekend,” he said
“When you talk about bringing 50 teams in at 12 kids on a team, you’re looking at 600 families coming into town for the weekend.”
Games will be played at Kasting, Kessler, Freeman and Shields parks.
The Park Department rents the diamonds out to individuals and organizations, such as USSSA, to conduct the tournaments.
All the youth softball tournaments are fast pitch and the men’s softball tournaments are slow pitch.
A lot of events are set up with pool play, followed by single-elimination tournaments with the teams being seeded.
Kleber said at least 30 softball or baseball teams will be in Seymour every weekend through mid-August.
A huge event, involving 25 baseball and 40 softball teams, will be conducted the weekend of June 26.
The softball tournament will be under the guidelines of USSSA, while the baseball tournament will be ‘open rec.’
A softball team from central Ohio, and three teams from Michigan are entered in one of the tournaments, and Kleber teams from throughout Indiana will be play in the tournaments.
On July 10 to 12, softball and baseball ‘all-nighter slugfest’ tournaments will be played at Freeman Field.
Kleber said the games will begin at 8 p.m. last until 8 a.m. on July 1 to 11, and begin at 8 p.m. last until they are finished July 11.
The Little League state tournament will be conducted the week of July 21 and will continue for five days, and Kleber said volunteers are needed to help with that tournament. Anyone interested in helping may contact Kleber or Jay Hubbard.
Hubbard is president of the Seymour Youth Leagues and head of the Little League, while Kleber is head of the softball leagues.
Kleber said his department is trying create more interest in men’s adult softball with the additional tournaments in Seymour.
The annual E. Wilcher Memorial Tournament was conducted May 9, and Junior Wilcher, Everett’s son, was the tournament manager.
“As far as men’s tournaments go, we still have the K & G Bash, July 4, and there a couple others scheduled as fund raisers for different teams in August,” Kleber said.