Alumni softball games coming up soon

Rube Asgaard, of the 1960s Ishpeming alumni team, retrieves a foul ball during an Ishpeming alumni softball game in 2016. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE — Alumni softball tournaments in three western Marquette County communities begin next weekend and run through the Fourth of July or even later.

Ishpeming and Westwood hold their tourneys beginning Saturday with championship games slated for Tuesday, July 4. But Negaunee, with its Pioneer Days celebration lasting the entire week of the Fourth, will use just one field and stretch out its tourney from Friday night through the following Friday, July 7.

Here’s a brief synopsis about each event, taking in the order their first games are held:

Negaunee

All games will be played at the city’s LaCombe Field in two divisions — varsity and JV — starting with the most recent graduates kicking things off.

The classes of 2017 and 2016 square off at 6 p.m. Friday, one of four “play-in” games that whittle the field to a pair of 16-team divisions beginning Saturday.

The other games that night are 1999 vs. 1990 at 7 p.m., 1983-84 vs. 1980-81 at 8 p.m. and 2009 vs. 2011 at 9 p.m.

The dividing line for the divisions is the centuries — classes 1999 and older, which includes one team that covers 1950 to 1972 along with 1976 and 1977, play in the varsity and 2000 and younger go in the JV.

However, only in this tourney do the division winners play each other in an overall championship game at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, July 7. That comes immediately after the JV championship at 6 p.m. and varsity at 7 p.m.

Games are scheduled every hour on the hour from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, and 6 to 9 p.m. next Monday and on Wednesday, July 5, and Thursday, July 6.

Westwood

The 17th annual tournament for Patriot graduates features three divisions in their tourney — the eldest Red Division for the classes of 1975-76-77 through 1989, the middle-aged White Division for 1990-91 through 2004-05, and the youngsters in the Blue Division for 2006 and later, which also includes a Westwood Staff team.

Most games take place at Sunnyside Field along U.S. 41 near the Ishpeming Township Fire Hall with seven being held the first day in Clarksburg.

Kicking off the 16-game schedule at 10 a.m. Saturday are a pair of Blue Division matchups — 2017 vs. Staff at Sunnyside and 2007 vs. 2008 at Clarksburg.

Sunnyside stays busy with games starting from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and 5:30 to 8 p.m. next Monday.

The championship tripleheader is set for Tuesday, the Fourth of July, at Sunnyside. Red goes at 1:30 p.m., White at 2:45 p.m. and Blue at 4 p.m.

Ishpeming

Now in its 38th year, the Hematites tout their event as the world’s oldest running alumni softball tournament and utilizes four fields around town — at Al Quaal Recreation Area, Mather A and two at the Ishpeming Ball Field complex.

It’s dedicated to longtime teacher, coach and Ishpeming administrator Bruno “Bear” Marana.

Two divisions are featured now that all the 1960s classes have been moved onto one “super” team. The 2000-01 team and older classes are in the Blue Division, while 2002 and younger go in the White Division.

Sixteen games at the four fields kick things off on Saturday, the first ones being at the Ishpeming Ball Field Complex fastpitch field — 1998-99 vs. 2000-01 at noon, 1987-88 vs. 1997 at 1 p.m. and 1976-77 vs. 1978-79 at 2:30 p.m.

And on opening day, they go as late as 2011 vs. 2010 at 11:30 p.m., also at the fastpitch field.

Games continue with start times from 2:30 to 11 p.m. on Sunday, all at the Ball Field complex, 5:30 to 10 p.m. next Monday, also at the Ball Field complex.

Championships are set for 1:30 and 3 p.m. on the Fourth of July at Al Quaal.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.