Alumni softball tournaments start Friday
GWINN — Now with four Marquette County high schools offering alumni coed softball tournaments, the Fourth of July should be the busiest time this summer on area diamonds.
Gwinn kicks off the action on Friday, with its second annual extravaganza taking place on two fields at the Forsyth Township Ball Field complex right across from Gwinn High School.
Twenty-eight teams spread across three divisions are included, with the 16-team younger division nicknamed the Diapers Bracket — classes from 2000 and later, along with a Misfits team — each playing a game Friday starting at 5 p.m.
A pair of six-team older divisions — they’re called the Depends Bracket with all the classes from the 20th century — start Saturday morning, the oldest division being a combined 1975-76-77-78 group.
The winners of the two Depends Bracket divisions face off at 8 p.m. Tuesday for the Depends championship, while the Diapers Bracket finale takes place at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The overall championship will be decided at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, the only game scheduled for that day.
Here are rundowns on the other area tourneys, in order of their start-up dates:
The 40th annual Ishpeming High School tourney, touted as the “World’s Oldest Running Alumni Softball Tournament,” runs Tuesday through Thursday, culminating with three championship games on the afternoon of the Fourth of July.
This year’s event is dedicated to the memories of 1979 graduate Ted Heilala, along with Justin Karnack, who would’ve graduated this spring.
In addition to the traditional Blue and White divisions, the new Kalevi’s Lady Hematite Division features three teams with more liberal roster rules — graduates can include their daughters and granddaughters on their teams and can play in the regular coed divisions, too.
Just two games are set for the women, with the classes of 2000-09 facing 2010-19 at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Ishpeming Slow Pitch field, with the winner to play the 1970s-80s-90s team for the title at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Al Quaal.
Other fields used at the tourney are the Fast Pitch field, which along with the Slow Pitch field are at the Ishpeming Ballfield Complex, and the Mather A field.
The White Division includes the 14 youngest teams from 2002 on.
A special feature will be a second-chance round for first-round losers. The youngest classes are re-entered into their own division, while the older first-round losers actually are entered into a side bracket of the Blue Division.
The regular side of the Blue Division includes eight teams from the 1960s-70s team through the 1998-2001 team.
The White championship is at 2:45 p.m. next Thursday at Al Quaal, with the Blue finale at 4 p.m. Thursday at Al Quaal.
Red, White and Blue divisions will commence play on Wednesday with championship games set for the morning and early afternoon of Sunday, July 7.
First-round games will be split between the Sunnyside and Clarksburg fields, with all games in subsequent rounds played at Sunnyside.
Actually, the only Wednesday games will be first-rounders in the youngest Blue Division that include 14 teams from the classes of 2007 to ’19, along with the Staff team.
The White Division, with 14 more teams from 1990 to 2006, begins next Thursday afternoon, as does the eight-team Red Division for everyone 1989 and earlier.
The July 7 championship games will be at 10 a.m. for Red, 11:15 a.m. for White and 12:30 p.m. for Blue.
The Miners traditionally have a post-Fourth tourney coinciding with Negaunee’s week-long Pioneer Days celebration.
This year’s event runs from Friday, July 5, through Friday, July 12, with all games at LaCombe Field.
The Junior Varsity Division includes teams from 2003 and younger, along with NPS Staff, with the Varsity including 2002 and older.
An Oldtimers game between Marquette and Negaunee will be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, also the day for weather makeups.
The division finals and overall championship are all set for July 12 — the JV winner will be determined at 6 p.m., Varsity at 7 p.m. and overall champion at 8:30 p.m.
Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is email@example.com.