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Mitchell to host 2009 state amateur baseball tournament

After 37 games, two crowned champions and countless bingo cards, the 2008 State Amateur Baseball tournament has come to an end.

Get ready for next year.

Monday, the 14-member state amateur commission voted unanimously to hold the 2009 state tournament in Mitchell for a second-straight year.

The Class B tournament will be held Aug. 5-16, with the first round of the Class A tournament in another undecided location.

Association member Jim Johnston said. "The amateur association couldn't take another loss of about $10,000 like they did when we held it in 2006."

Instead, Johnston explained the tournament brought money in this year. Exact figures, he said, weren't known

"Sometimes people take it for granted that Mitchell hosts the tournament two out of every three years," longtime Mitchell Baseball since the tournament only ended on Sunday.

Dale Weber, president of the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Association, said he and the commission were so pleased with the success of the tournament they felt Mitchell deserved it again in 2009.

Many factors were included in the decision to bring the tournament back to Mitchell. The upgrade of the public address system and the bathrooms helped, but the main factor was gate revenue, which Johnston approximated was $10,000 greater than in 2006.

"We knew we would have to have good gate revenue this year to get the tournament back," he said. "There's no secret in what makes the tournament successful. The area teams need to get far. We were fortunate to have many local teams advance in the first round."

After winning in the first round, the Dimock/Emery against Canova matchup brought in the tournament's largest crowd, as well as the most money.

Despite the fact no local teams were in either of the championship games, the Class B title game brought quite a bit of excitement.

"I think this was one of our best finals -- mostly because of the momentum switches," Weber said. "And the fans were great throughout the entire tournament. We got a lot of positive feedback."

Johnston and Weber both agreed that the players and the fans seemed to be very pleased with Cadwell's recent improvements.

"The PA system was magnificent," Weber said. "There wasn't one spot in the stadium that couldn't hear it."

"I remember when we used a boom box and a microphone to get music onto the field," Johnston added. "The new PA system just adds to the tournament. I like the fact that we can play upbeat music throughout the games."

Weber also said the money the city of Mitchell and the Mitchell Baseball Association used to improve the bathroom facilities was money well spent.

About a week after the tournament, the host city and the commission usually sits down to look at the financial earnings and improvements for future tournaments.

Johnston said bringing in better tarps to cover the infield will be talked about in the meeting later this week.

"We have to keep ourselves in a position where we won't get rained out from afternoon rain," he said. "We're working on the possibility of getting three new tarps to cover the infield adequately."

Only one day was the tournament postponed this year due to rain. Then, Drake field was called upon.

"Some of the players weren't real excited they would have to play on Drake," Johnston said. "After the game, they complimented some of the improvements we've made to it recently."

Cadwell hosted a few new looks to a South Dakota State Amateur Tournament this year, too.

A two-man umpire crew was new this year.

Weber said he and the commission will talk over the idea of using a three-man crew again in the future, but his personal vote would be to keep it, saving extra costs.

Another addition was a group of teenage singers from Ireland who came to sing before one of the games. Johnston helped coordinate the singers, who performed the Irish National Anthem and "America the Beautiful."

"I thought they did a great job," Weber said. "During the meeting we'll look at bringing in other singing groups to the host city."

Johnston said the cozy atmosphere of Mitchell did a good job of hosting the amateur tournament this season.

"Amateur baseball is smalltown baseball," he said. "There was tremendous support from all that helped out and we had great feedback this year."