Regional tournament brought nearly 1,000 fans and family members to Niles

Published 9:47 pm Wednesday, August 4, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
With Southern Indiana's victory over Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday, the Babe Ruth Ohio Valley Regional ended after six days and 18 games of baseball at Thomas Memorial Stadium.
While putting on a tournament plays host to nine teams from seven states can be tiring, tournament organizers and fans said the regional went off without a problem.
Volunteer Don Snyder took tickets at the front gate during most the regional and estimated the tournament brought in nearly 1000 spectators.
Snyder said Thomas Stadium has hosted about 10 Ohio Valley Regional tournaments. Teams come from all over the Midwest because of the beautiful facilities, he said.
Gourlay said Thomas Stadium is such a big draw for tournaments because it is one of the best little league stadiums in the Midwest.
Rick Olinghouse, president of Niles' Babe Ruth league and fellow tournament director, said Thomas Stadium is great, but many people come because they enjoy Niles and the people who live here.
Ginger Schocke's son Adam plays for the Southern Indiana team, so she has been in town all six days of the tournament. She said the town, the people and the stadium made her stay in Niles enjoyable.
Schocke said that, while in town, her son and his teammates have gone to several area restaurants, Hackers miniature golf course and Lake Michigan.
The only problem tournament organizers experienced couldn't be helped. Heavy rain on Friday night put the regional one game behind schedule. The game was simply played on Saturday morning, with the other Saturday games bumped back one time slot.
While the crowd is what Olinghouse and Gourlay expected based on previous regionals at Thomas Stadium, they said there could have been more fans. Had the Niles All-Star team made it past the second game, there could have been many more.
Olinghouse said if Niles had made it to the championship game, there could have been a couple thousand people in the stands.
Olinghouse added that Niles hopes to host another Ohio Valley Regional in two years.