Niles hosting 13-year-old Ohio Valley Regional

Published 6:22 pm Tuesday, June 29, 2004

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Hosting 10 teams for a tournament is nothing new to the Greater Niles Babe Ruth League, but this year the league will host one of the premiere events in youth baseball.
Thomas Memorial Stadium will be the site of the 2004 13-year-old Ohio Valley Regional Tournament July 29-Aug. 2.
The tournament will include 10 teams from seven states and the winner will advance to the Babe Ruth 13-year-old World Series in Van Buren, Ariz., on Aug. 14-21.
Gourlay, and current president Rick Olinghouse, have been involved in hosting regional tournament, and even World Series tournaments, in the past, but not for quite some time.
The last regional tournament to be played in Niles was in 1996 and that was a much smaller event than this year's will be. It has been at least 10 years since the league has hosted an event of this magnitude.
The state winners from Indiana North, Indiana South, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kentucky East, Kentucky West, Ohio and West Virginia will join a Niles host team for the tournament.
If the Niles 13-year-old All-Stars win the state tournament, the runner-up team will become the Michigan winner and the Niles team will still fill the host team slot on the schedule.
Each year the Niles Babe Ruth League sends out four teams to state tournaments, at a cost of $2,500 to $3,000 apiece. The league also had to pay a fee of $2,000 to host the Ohio Valley Regional Tournament.
Those costs are covered by the league's operating budget, but trying to host a World Series again would be another step the league doesn't feel it is able to take.
In an effort to make this year's regional tournament the best it can be, the Babe Ruth committee has started sprucing up around Thomas Stadium and will continue to do so right up to the start of the tournament.
New banners boards have also been recently hung on the back side of the east-facing bleachers. The boards display all of the Niles Babe Ruth League's past state and regional tournament winners.
The league committee has its hands full and will call on outside help to complete the task of preparing for and hosting the tournament.
The Greater Niles Babe Ruth League includes four 13-year-old teams this season. From those four squads, a team of 15 will be assembled to compete in the state and regional tournaments.
All-Star teams are picked by managers, which are picked by the league committee members. Even then, the choice of a manager often depends on availability.
This year's 13-year-old All-Stars have not been officially chosen yet, but the process is under way.
The tournament will begin on Thursday, July 29, with the first two games. An official opening ceremony will be held Friday, July 30, at 6 p.m. with appearances by Mayor Mike McCauslin and other city and township officials.
The Babe Ruth committee welcomes anyone interested in volunteering during the Ohio Valley Regional.