ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The Hillsboro Sports Complex will be abuzz beginning July 9 when the Hap Dumont State Baseball Tournament for 10-year-olds comes to town.
The double-elimination tournament begins at 8 a.m. Saturday and, depending on elimination games, could last through Tuesday, July 12.
Twenty teams will invade the complex, according to Bob Hein, Hap Dumont state director.
“Towns bid on this tournament, but I kind of push for Hillsboro to be the host. This will be terrific for Hillsboro and for Marion County,” said Hein, who also is a county commissioner.
The Hap Dumont organization began in 1931, named after Raymond Harry “Hap” Dumont.
In honor of Dumont, who died in 1971, Lawrence Stadium in Wichita was renamed Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in 1978.
According to Hein, each Hap Dumont team travels with a 17-person roster, plus two or three coaches and numerous parents, siblings and grandparents.
“You’re looking at hundreds of visitors who will use the reservoir to camp and fish and buy gas and food in Marion County,” Hein said. “The convenience stores and restaurants will do a great business.
“I’ve already had people calling me about camper hookups, people wanting to play golf and others who want to go boating and swimming,” he added. “It brings a lot of money to town.”
Steven Garrett, Hillsboro city administrator, said the money the city expends for electricity to light the three ball diamonds is more than recouped by added revenues due to the tournament.
“Basically for the utilities, the cost is not sizeable-especially compared to about 1,500 visitors this tournament will bring to town,” Garrett said. “Each dollar these visitors spend will recirculate several times.
“For any detriment there is, there’s more than adequate benefits,” he said. “It’s not as big as the Arts & Crafts Fair, but it’s a lot better than your average day.”
Marvin Funk will serve as the tournament director and Hillsboro’s evening Lions Club will be tournament hosts.
“We’d really appreciate it if the people in and around Hillsboro would come out and watch some games or even volunteer to help with concessions, the gates or help keep score,” Hein said. “It’s going to take a lot of people to run this thing.”
Daily admission will be $4 for adults, $3 for high-schoolers and free for those children 6 and under.
Games will be limited to six innings or two hours, with run rules of 15 after three innings and 10 runs after four innings.
Teams are expected to attend from as far away as Lawrence, Pittsburg and Topeka.
“The hotel will also benefit from this,” Hein said. “With the new water park scheduled to open next summer, the impact a tournament like this will have will be even greater.”
Garrett said events such as this can shine a positive light on Hillsboro and what it has to offer.
“We want people to come to Hillsboro and see how good our town is so they’ll come back,” he said. “The benefits don’t necessarily end when the tournament does.
“It might generate sales weeks down the road,” he added. “My thoughts are if someone wants to come to Hillsboro to play ball-let them come.”