ISHPEMING - Teams from across the state will converge on Ishpeming later this week for the Michigan Majors (age 11-12) baseball tournament and Jeff Adriano couldn't be happier.
"It's the crown jewel for our (Ishpeming Little) league to host the states," the tournament director said. "We've been planning for it for a year and we're really looking forward to it."
He said the state tourney site rotates among 16 districts once every 16 years.
"There are 10 teams in each district, so it's an honor to host the tourney," Adriano said. "We've spent five years upgrading our fields and we're proud to serve as hosts."
He said there will be 16 teams competing, with 240 participating players and coaches. Adriano estimates 2,000-3,000 spectators will be visiting the area.
He added three Upper Peninsula teams will be represented, Sault Ste. Marie, Portage Lake and another to be announced.
Opening ceremonies for the tournament will get under way at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Ishpeming High School football stadium.
Coach Jeff Olson of the 2012 state Division 7 champion IHS varsity football team will serve as the guest speaker.
A fundraising Croation chicken dinner open to the public will be held at the LL complex. Tickets are $8 apiece.
Individual player contests, including a home run derby, and fastest base runner and fastest pitcher events, will follow.
"We're trying to make it a festive evening for the kids before the games start," Adriano said.
Games will begin at 10 a.m. Friday and continue through Sunday, July 21, with pool play. Each team is guaranteed a minimum of three games.
After Sunday's play, two teams in each pool will advance to quarterfinal action Monday, July 22.
The championship game is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 24.
There's no admission charge to view the games.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.