After one summer off, Mike Ray and his cadre of volunteers are back in the tournament business.
Thanks to the ambition of Ray and other area Little League volunteers, championship baseball teams from 10 states will be in Vancouver beginning July 31 for the Junior League Western Region Tournament at Propstra Stadium.
The winner of the nine-day tournament advances to the Junior League World Series. Junior League is the Little League division for ages 13-14.
For seven summers, ending in 2010, Ray was the tournament director for the Little League Softball Western Regional, which was held at Fort Vancouver Little League.
When Little League, Inc., moved its softball regional tournament to San Bernardino, Calif., Ray and other area Little League enthusiasts quickly went to work trying to land a replacement.
“We decided we’d like to do it again,” said Ray, the long-time administrator for Washington Little League District 4. District 4 includes nine Little Leagues in Clark and Skamania counties.
“I think we have a wonderful community in which to hold these tournaments,” Ray said, calling Propstra Stadium a gem that should be used for significant tournaments.
Columbia Credit Union recently agreed to be the presenting sponsor for the 2012 Junior League Western Regional. Ray said the credit union’s assistance will cover the cost of renting the stadium from the Vancouver School District. Propstra Stadium is at Hudson’s Bay High School.
The District 4 Junior League champions from Columbia Little League will be the host team for the regional tournament, and will face the Southern California champion in the first game of round-robin play on July 31.
Tickets to all 28 games of the regional cost $20. Daily tickets cost $4. There are between two and four games each day during the round-robin phase of the tournament. The semifinal games are on Aug. 7 and the regional championship at 6 p.m. on Aug. 8.
This tournament moves to Vancouver from Irvine, Calif. A four-team version of this tournament was held in Vancouver in 2001.
Having a team of volunteers who are experienced at running a regional tournament was helpful in getting this tournament to Vancouver, Ray said.
Only three of the 12 teams have been determined, with the other nine completing state tournaments this week. In addition to the host team, Murray Hill of Beaverton is the Oregon champion and Cedar City is the Utah representative. Participating teams are expected to arrive in time for a welcoming picnic on July 30. The tournament website is http://www.juniorregionals.com.
Players for the host Columbia All-Stars are Matthew Allison, Riley Ellison, Matthew Loftgren, Kyle Moen, Trevor Moore, Trevor Murphy, Jacob Olivarez, Toby Newell, Jacob Shimer, Jacob Trump and Kody Ulrich. The manager is Anthony Barrett, and the assistant coaches are Curt Allison and Dave Moore.
Cardinals vs. alumni game — The Vancouver Cardinals baseball team will hold its annual alumni game at 6 p.m. today at Propstra Stadium.
Little League Baseball — Glenwood is still playing and Central Vancouver was eliminated on Monday at the Washington State Little League Baseball Tournament.
Taylor Beaupre hit a grand slam on Monday as Glenwood beat Centralia 4-0 in a loser-out game. Next up for Glenwood is a 10 a.m. Tuesday loser-out game against Mercer Island.
Little League Baseball is for boys ages 11-12. The state tournament, being played at Walla Walla, is the second step on the ladder to the Little League World Series.
Taryn Yarnell and Cisco Lazama combined for Glenwood to pitch Monday’s shutout against Centralia.
Central Vancouver was eliminated on Monday with a 9-1 loss to Woodinville. No details were reported to The Columbian from that game. Central Vancouver, the District 4 champions, went 0-2 at state.
Babe Ruth Baseball — Hazel Dell Metro defeated Kennewick 12-8 in the 14-year-old state tournament at Elma to advance out of pool play.No details were reported. Hazel Dell will face Kelso at noon today in the single-elimination portion of the tournament. If Hazel Dell wins, it will face Twin Cities of Centralia-Chehalis at 6 p.m. in the semifinals.
In the 15-year-old tournament at Castle Rock, Kennewick defeated KWRL 12-9, but the team of Kalama-Woodland-Ridgefield-La Center still advanced to single-elimination play. No details were reported. KWRL plays at 9 a.m. today, and if it wins, would play again in the semifinals at 3 p.m.
The championship game of both tournaments is Wednesday.