Tourney has deep roots
Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 30, 2001
It was a hot day at Todd Park for the Austin Jaycees’ 23rd Annual Youth International Baseball Tournament.
Saturday, June 30, 2001
It was a hot day at Todd Park for the Austin Jaycees’ 23rd Annual Youth International Baseball Tournament. Sixteen teams of 12-year-olds are participating in the tournament and three teams are from Canada.
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The tournament was started 25 years ago when Gabby Weiss and Dick Waddington of Current River, Canada, decided to have their teams get together and play. It has grown considerably from this friendship exchange.
Weiss elaborated on the tournament: "Many families take this as an annual trip. We have people come from Wisconsin to participate. Families from Austin host the Canadian players and Thunder Bay, Canada, returns the favor and we go there for a tournament in July."
Shelly Brady had two boys from Thunder Bay staying with her.
"My two boys are almost 12, they play with the Austin team," she said. "We have been having a ball with the boys. I was kind of worried at first that they would get homesick but it’s been great. We played pingpong, jumped on the trampoline and went to a movie. Tonight we are going swimming at the Holiday Inn."
The players form friendships that, according to Waddington, have lasted more than 20 years. The boys have exchanged e-mail addresses and plan to keep in touch with each other.
Teams from other towns are on a waiting list to try and participate in this tournament. This was Hutchinson’s first year. The were able to come to it because Goodhue dropped their youth baseball program.
A captain of the Hutchinson team, Steven Helget, was enthusiastic about the great fun they were having.
"We’re staying in Albert Lea at the Days Inn," he said. "We are in the pool a lot. We keep the team up with pep talks and supply them with sunflower seeds."
The tournament resumes at 9 a.m. today with the championship game at 3 p.m.
Call Sheila Donnelly at 434-2214 or e-mail her at email@example.com.