Spokane and Coeur d’Alene American Legion Baseball will once again host their annual Fourth of July weekend Woodbats Classic baseball tournament this upcoming July 4-7 at various locations throughout the area.
The tournament, which has been around in some form or fashion since the mid-70s, will host two separate brackets, one for the Junior AA program which is designed for players in the 16-17 year-old range, and one for the Senior AAA program which is designed for players in the 18- 19-year-old range.
“We got a high level outstanding level of play in American Legion baseball with our local teams,” Steve Barge, the past president and district commissioner of Spokane American Legion baseball, said. “But one of the reasons this tournament is successful I think it’s twofold; the locals like it because we try to bring in as top-notch competition as we can, but also this tournament has developed a reputation over the years as teams love to come to this part of the country for a number of reasons. The area is a beautiful place, they get a good level of competition, it’s a wood bat tournament and we have scouts and college coaches that spend time here so these kids can put their skills on display.”
The senior classification bracket will split 30 teams into five pods, six teams per pod, with games being hosted at Shadle Park High School, Ferris High School, Rogers High School, Post Falls High School and Coeur d’Alene High School.
The junior classification will split 50 teams that come in from all over the states of Washington, Montana, Idaho and Oregon, along with Canada, into 10 pods, five teams per pod.
Three Spokane Valley teams will participate in the AA tournament including West Valley, Central Valley and University. CV and WV will be the host schools for their respective pods along with eight other hosting schools including Northwest Christian, Cheney, Gonzaga Prep, Lake City, Medical Lake, Mt. Spokane, North Central and Coeur D’Alene.
The CV pod includes the Ferndale Golden Eagles of Ferndale, Wash., the Vallivue Titans of Caldwell, Idaho, the Rogers Pirates of Spokane, the Richland Bombers of Richland, Wash. and the CV Bears. CV will begin pod play on Thursday July 4, at 3:30 p.m. against Vallivue. The Bears will then play Ferndale on Friday at 3:30 p.m. and cap off the day at 6 p.m. with a game against Rogers.
WV will play host to the Okotoks White of Okotoks, Alberta, the Capital Senators of Olympia, Wash., the Eagle Vipers of Eagle, Idaho and the Yakima Valley Peppers of Selah. WV will also begin pod play on Thursday July 4, at 3:30 p.m. against Eagle. They will then matchup against the Okotoks at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and cap off pod play at 6 p.m. that night against Capital.
The University Titans will be playing in the Coeur d’Alene pod with their games at Coeur d’Alene High School. The Calgary Redbirds of Calgary, Alberta, the Kalispell Lakers of Kalispell, Mont., and the Coeur d’Alene Lumberjacks and Coeur d’Alene Loggers, both of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, join them. The Titans will begin pod play on Thursday, July 4, at 8 a.m. against the Lumberjacks. They will then play Calgary at 10 a.m. the same day and finish up pod play on Friday at 10 a.m. against Kalispell.
Based on win-loss records during pod play, the members of each pod will be seeded 1-5 with each seed meeting their corresponding seed from another chosen pod. For example the No. 1 seed from one pod will play the No.1 seed from another, the No. 2 seed will meet the No. 2 seed, the No. 3 seed will meet the No. 3 seed, etc., etc.
The No. 1 seed from the CV pod and the No.1 seed from the WV pod will square off at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 6. The CV No. 2 seed will meet the WV No. 2 seed at 6 p.m., the two No. 3 seeds at 3:30 p.m., the No.4 seeds at 10:30 a.m., and the No.5 seeds at 8 a.m.
For University, the Coeur d’Alene pod will be matched up against the Lake City pod which includes the Moose Jaw Devon of Moose Jaw Saskatchewan, the West Kootenay Diamondbacks of Trail, British Columbia, the Biterroot Bucs of Florence, Mont., Mason Baseball of Montesano and also the Coeur d’Alene Lakers. The No.1 seeds from each pod will matchup on Saturday at 1 p.m., the No. 2 seeds at 6 p.m., the No.3 seeds at 3:30 p.m., the No. 4 seeds at 10:30 a.m. and the No. 5 seeds at 8 a.m.
The five winners of the matchups between the pods will then again be seeded. The top three seeds will automatically advance to the semi-finals while the No. 4 seed and the No. 5 seed will play at Medical Lake at 7 p.m. on July 6. The winner of this game will advance to the semi-finals and play the No. 1 seed at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 7, while the No. 2 and No. 3 seed will play at 9 a.m. The two semifinal winners will then face off in the championship game at 2 p.m. All semifinal and championship games will take place at Ramsey Field in Coeur d’Alene.
The Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center will also be hosting a welcoming barbeque for the competing teams Wednesday, July 3, with former Gonzaga baseball coach Steve Hertz attending as a guest speaker.