CANOVA -- Canova has pumped thousands of dollars into its baseball facility for weekends like this.
The Canova Baseball Association will host the VFW 10-and-under Class B baseball on July 16-18. The tournament features 16 teams for 32 games.
But if there’s a community capable of hosting an event of that size, it’s Canova. The Miner County community, which has a population 105 at the most recent U.S. Census, symbolizes small-town baseball and has the facilities to prove it.
The facility’s two youth-sized ballparks, adjacent to the main field, will be host sites for this weekend’s tournament. The entire facility has undergone improvements in recent years and they’ve all been geared up for tournaments like this weekend. In recent years, Canova also hosted regional tournaments, 12U and 16U state tournaments.
“With the amount of money we have put into our park and our facilities, we try to host as much stuff as we possibly can,” said Nick Koepsell, who is the vice president of the Canova Baseball Association. “We kind of made that decision when we started pouring money into it that we are going to host anything and everything that we can.”
One of the youth-sized fields was built in 2016 and its dimensions are similar to the Little League World Series field. The other youth field was used for slowpitch softball, but has been converted in recent years.
“We decided to move the fences in and it’s a really nice little park, too,” Koepsell said. “It’s really conducive to Little League dimensions and the kids really enjoy playing on them. Both of them are ready to roll. We’ve done a lot of improvements to both of them.”
The three-day tournament wraps up with the championship game at 2 p.m. Sunday. Canova will host an amateur baseball game against Dell Rapids PBR at 4 p.m., which will make for a baseball-filled day at the facility.
“It’s a big deal for the community when you host something like this and we expect big crowds all weekend long,” Koepsell said.
The event will consist of teams from Alexandria, Arlington, Baltic, Britton, Canova, Castlewood, Clark, De Smet, Emery, Estelline, Montrose, Parker, Parkston, Platte-Geddes, Salem and Webster. One of the challenges is lodging for teams unable to drive back and forth, but Koepsell said local hunting lodges are options, along with hotels in Mitchell and Madison.
All funds raised will help continue renovations to the complex and to fund baseball operations in Canova. Games will begin on Friday at 9 a.m. and will be played every couple hours through Sunday afternoon.