Mitchell is preparing to be the hub of the state’s youth baseball scene this weekend.
Sixty youth baseball teams are set to arrive in the city as Cadwell Sports Complex once again plays host to the South Dakota Class A state youth baseball tournament.
The tournament, which features players ages 9-12, runs from July 19-21 and it is the fourth of six consecutive years that Mitchell has been tabbed as the host city.
“The complex is large enough for the 60 teams,” said Nathan Sparks, the Vice President of the Mitchell Baseball Association. “I think we’ll have 130-140 games going on. The additions that we’ve done and the improvements that we’ve made -- everyone that I’ve talked to really likes it -- the sunshades and what not. It fits.”
The tournament has been located in Mitchell since the South Dakota Class A baseball program broke away from South Dakota Veterans of Foreign Wars group that oversees tournaments for smaller communities in the state.
There is no qualification process for the tournament, save for being one of the 12 Class A organizations and a $150 fee per team, along with random bracket placement can lead to some lopsided outings, but Sparks believes there is no exact process.
“Not to say that it’s fail proof. There’s going to be some complaints,” Sparks said. “The past four years, we’ve had some of that as well. I was a little anxious about how we had it set up, but as I looked at it, it’s probably the best approach.”
Pool play begins Friday and bracket play begins Saturday, with placement games occurring on Sunday.
In the 9-and-under and 11-and-under divisions, the top four teams will place, while the 10-and-under and 12-and-under divisions have been split into two leagues -- American and National -- with the top four squads in the American placing and the National will see the top teams get trophies and the top three earning medals.
Eight Mitchell teams are entered into the tournament, with the Mitchell Mad Dogs fielding teams in 9U, 10U and 11U divisions, the Mitchell Raptors and the Mitchell Sliders in 10U and Mitchell Overtime, the Mitchell Shockers and Mitchell Vipers in 12U.
“Quite honestly, I think each of them has the chance (to win) based on the baseball I’ve seen this year,” Sparks said. “There’s a couple of older Mad Dogs teams that’ll be doing pretty good, the Mitchell Overtime 12U team will be pretty good and the Mitchell Sliders have done pretty well this year.”