MASSENA — Approximately 200 youngsters will take the diamond this weekend in Massena to showcase their baseball skills in the Massena Little League Rotary Club Tournament.
The annual event takes place every first weekend in August and will feature 18 teams across two divisions this year.
Action will start at 6 p.m. today at both Springs Park and Bushnell Field, while later games will occur at Bushnell and Alcoa Field.
The tournament features 10 teams in the U12 division and eight teams in the U10 division.
“Next year we will try for 16 to 20 teams per division,” Massena Little League President Peter Firnstein said. “The tournament has been going on for 20 to 30 years because when I was a kid (it was going on). My parents and other parents ran it back then, and I am 35 years old now.”
Games will run all day Saturday, kicking off at 9 a.m. at North Main Springs Park and Alcoa Field and wrapping up around 7 p.m. There will be a home run derby for the U12 division between 7 and 8 p.m. at Springs Park.
“We will light up Springs Park for that. Various sponsors are donating so we can light the field up,” Mr. Firnstein said. “(The numbers have) gone a bit downhill since I participated. I think they used to have 20 to 30 teams in the divisions but there has been a lessening interest in baseball in recent years.”
Sunday will be elimination play beginning at 9 a.m.
The U12 division’s championship game will be at 6 p.m. at Springs Park, while the younger crew’s final will be at North Main at the same time.
Mr. Firnstein has appreciated the help of various groups in running the tournament.
“Our local businesses are great and the Recreation Commission has been great helping us prepare for this,” he said.
The president said he hopes the tournament will gain interest in coming years and will get more teams joining.
“My hopes are to make it one of the premiere tournaments for kids to participate and draw people to Massena,” Mr. Firnstein said. “I just enjoy volunteering and I was able to go to college for baseball, and I want to spread my love for the game onto my kids and the other kids.”