Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant
The 8U girls softball team, coached by Rod Kinzler and Jorge Zuniga, took second place at the Berrien Springs All-Star tournament this weekend. The girls’ bats started slowly on Wednesday when they lost to Buchanan, 1-3. On Thursday they were hitting better when they beat host Berrien Springs, 17-0, for the only shutout in pool play. Bracket play began on Saturday, and the Panthers advanced by beating Buchanan, 10-8. Next up was North Lincoln in a semi-final game, and the Panthers again came out on top, winning 10-7. In their third game of the day they lost the championship to Lakeshore, 11-6.
The 10U softball team, coached by Tyler Kirksey and Dennis Thomas, also played in the Berrien Springs tournament last week. The first game of pool play was Wednesday at the Lakeshore softball complex where they lost to Lakeshore, 10-8. Next up was Bridgman on Friday, who they beat 16-8. In the first bracket game they faced Bridgman again and this time the Bees came out on top 12-3, to end the Panthers’ tournament.
The 12U girls, coached by Cory Edelberg and Tom Kiefer, were also in Berrien Springs in a division with just four teams. On Wednesday they lost to Buchanan, 9-3. On Thursday they lost to River Valley in a close one, 9-7. In Saturday morning bracket play they beat Buchanan to earn a spot in the championship game. They took second place after a 10-0 loss to River Valley.
The boys Minor (8U) all-star team played in the 45th annual North Lincoln tournament held at Eaton Park alongside I-94. The team, coached by Martel Taylor and Adam Jarvis, was playing against 13 teams in its division. They started pool play with a win on Thursday, beating Lawton 16-5. Next up was Bridgman and the Panthers beat them in a close one, 9-8. In the first round of the brackets they beat Benton Harbor, 21-1. Next up was a chance to earn a spot in semi-final play against Lakeshore where they lost 16-0 to bow out of the tournament.
The boys 10U team stayed close to home, playing at the tournament in Hartford. This one is a double-elimination bracket. In their first game on Friday they beat South Haven and then lost to Decatur on Saturday morning. Next they beat host Hartford, but then fell to Eau Claire in their third game of the day to end their weekend.
Hooterville Hitters beat the Paw Paw River Cats, 8-6
Old time base ball made its return to Hays Park on Saturday as part of the Independence Day activities in Watervliet. The game was played by 1860s rules. This was a time when the teams got together for some exercise and to play a gentleman’s base ball game that prohibited sliding, cussing, spitting.
BLISTERING BAT… Hooterville Hitter Derrick Burkhardt blisters a ball during early action Saturday in the team’s vintage base ball game against the Paw Paw River Cats. The Hitters edged the Cats 8-6. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
There were no gloves or mitts, as they hadn’t been used in ball games at that time. It’s also a game where catching a struck ball on one bounce was good for an out. Announcer Tom Gear shared plenty of base ball history with the players and fans, especially the old time language.
SMASHING STACY… Paw Paw River Cats player Stacy Denton uses the business end of a wooden bat during Saturday’s vintage base ball game against the Hooterville Hitters at Hays Park. The Cats dropped the contest 8-6. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)