With the Baumann Memorial Tournament discontinued after the 2007 Memorial Day weekend, world class fastpitch softball was considered a thing of the past.
But Erie’s Billy Hillhouse, who still pitches in world class tournaments, plans on a warm-up in Erie for the upcoming A.S.A. Nationals and ISC World Championships.
On the weekend of July 31- Aug. 1, six of the top seven ranked teams in the world are scheduled to compete at the Hess Avenue fields on East 11th and 12th streets.
The field includes the top-ranked Kitchener Riversharks (Ontario), the two-time defending ISC world champions, No. 2 Jarvis Travelers (Ontario), No. 3 Chicago/Dominican, the No. 4 Clifton Park, N.Y. Gremlins, No. 6 Midland (Mich.) Explorers, and No. 7, Albaugh, Inc. of Elkart, Iowa.
Ashland (Ohio) would have made a seventh team, but dropped out.
“With the nationals in South Bend (Ind.) the next week, and the worlds in Midland the following week, these teams will be in top form,” said Hillhouse, who pitches for the Gremlins. “The difference between this and the Baumann tournament is the timing. They are going to bring their top players in, and it’s going to be a perfect tune-up for the biggest tournaments of the season.”
Hillhouse was hoping to have eight teams or more in two divisions.
“We’ll probably have a round-robin, with everybody getting five games, then semifinals and a championship game,” Hillhouse said.
Australian Adam Folkard, who pitches for Rags in the Erie City Rec Fastpitch League, hurls for the Jarvis Travelers.
“He’s only 23, and he’s been staying with me this summer,” Hillhouse said. “He’s already rated one of the top pitchers in the world. In Australia, he’s already a legend.”
Erie Beer co-owner Ed McCormick, who sponsors three of the four City Rec teams, will provide some of the backing for the tournament.
“For six teams, the money is not that big of an issue. They just want the competition at the right time,” Hillhouse said. “And softball fans will see the best the game can offer.”
Ballparkradio’s lead play-by-play man, Kyle Smith, will be in Erie PA on July 31-August 1, 2010 to bring you live streaming broadcasts from the Erie Tournament.
Editors note: Pending confirmation of an Internet connection in Erie, Ballparkradio will be broadcasting from the Erie tournament, wiyh Kyle Smith doing the play-by-play along with assorted cast color commentators. Watch this space for further announcements in that regard.
Kyle’s busy summer on Ballparkradio looks to be getting busier still. Kyle was on the air from Kitchener for the Legends Tournament in July, and also this past weekend from Tavistock Ontario. The Erie Tournament will be the third event during the month of July, with the Canadian midget boys turned the first weekend in August to follow, and the ISC world tournament after that.