ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
With 24 teams confirmed to participate in this year’s Hap Dumont NBC State 10-under Baseball Tournament, the Hillsboro Sports Complex will reverberate with the sounds of aluminum bats this weekend and early next week.
Bob Hein of Hillsboro, state director for Hap Dumont, said the five-day tournament will begin at 9 a.m., July 12, with the championship game scheduled for Wednesday evening, July 16.
Three baseball fields will be in use simultaneously at the complex in the double-elimination tournament.
In the process, 46 games will be contested to determine the eventual state champion.
“Teams have to qualify to come into this,” Hein said. “We had qualifying tournaments and some league champions can come, too.”
“Last year, (Hap Dumont officials) split the tournament between Topeka and Hillsboro, but this year we’re just gonna do the one tournament,” Hein said. “I think this will really work well with one site.
“We let the teams have a choice last year of whether they wanted to go to Topeka or come here, and the majority of them wanted to come here,” Hein added. “I’ve had a lot of good compliments about the way we run tournaments out here.”
A pivotal component of hosting such an event is the willingness of an organization to handle the leg-work-and the availability of good volunteer help.
This year, the Hillsboro Lions Club will be take on that responsibility. The Lions Club will oversee everything from ticket taking to concessions.
Umpire’s salaries will be paid from the proceeds generated and collected by the Lions Club.
“You have to have good umpires, and good concessions,” Hein said. “I think these guys (Lions) will do a real good job with this.
“They’ve been willing to sponsor this and they’re willing to put the time in to do it,” he added. “It takes a lot of work.”
This year’s tournament will feature teams from Pittsburg, Hays and Lawrence and almost everywhere in between.
“It’s just unbelievable the number of teams coming in for this,” Hein said. “This is going to be a biggie.”
Hein said Hillsboro has been hosting baseball tournaments for the past 10 years, and knows what it takes to run a smooth show.
“Next week we’ll have the 15-year-old state tournament in town,” he said. “We have great facilities here, and it’s nice we get to show them off sometimes.”
Adding local flavor to this year’s 10-under tournament is the “Hillsboro All-Stars” team comprised of local athletes.
Scheduled to open the tournament at 9 a.m., the All-Stars will
do their best to represent Hillsboro.
Hein is no rookie when it comes to working with Hap Dumont athletes.
“I’ve been with Hap Dumont for 10 years,” he said. “I started being just a director, but then I got put in as a state director.”
Others with local connections to the Hap Dumont tournament include directors Gerald Vogt and Tabor baseball coach John Sparks, who also serve as board members.
“People who have time and interest can be on the Hap Dumont board,” Hein said. “We always need people to serve. It takes time and work to get these things going.”
Hein said many people are surprised at the quality of baseball 10-under kids can play.
“There will be a lot of all-star teams, and that’s fine,” Hein said. “It makes for better baseball and better competition. We have teams coming in here that have already played over 60 games this summer.”
For more information game times or other tournament specifics, Hein can be reached at 947-3018 or 947-3117. Tournament director Marvin Funk can be reached at 947-2249.
Hein is anxious to get the balls rolling this weekend.
“I don’t think you’ll be able to find any better baseball than this 10-and-under tournament.”