L&C Wooden Bat Classic will attract competitive ball clubs By Parker Knox
Sportswriter Some of the best American Legion baseball clubs in two states will compete at three sites when the seventh annual Lewis & Clark Wooden Bat Classic is held this weekend. By Saturday night, if weather permits, 30 games will have been played â�?�? 10 each in three five-team pools.�? Best records and a series of tie-breakers will then determine which four teams advance to Sundayâ�?�?s semifinals and championship game at Prentis Park in Vermillion. If it is true that a ballclub gets better by playing the best possible competition, then Coach Jason Gaultâ�?�?s Vermillion Post 1 team may do a whole lot of improving because, on paper at least, it appears their pool of teams is downright rugged. Joining the Post 1 team in its pool at Prentis Park Friday and Saturday will be Josh Merriganâ�?�?s Sioux Falls Post 15 West team, the defending South Dakota state American Legion champions.�? Last year West reached the final four in the Central Plains Region, only two wins away from the Legion World Series. Also in the Vermillion pool is Parkston. That group of athletes won last yearâ�?�?s state Class â�?�?Bâ�? American Legion title, and this spring most of the same players were undefeated as the state â�?�?Bâ�? high school champions. Other teams in the Vermillion pool are Watertown and Gretna, NE. Vermillionâ�?�?s Friday games pit Post 1 against Sioux Falls West at 9:30 a.m. and Gretna at 7:30 p.m. In between those contests will be three other games â�?�? West vs. Parkston at noon, Parkston vs. Watertown at 2:30 p.m. and Watertown vs. Gretna at 5 p.m. Saturdayâ�?�?s Prentis Park lineup finds West-Watertown at 9:30 a.m., West-Gretna at noon, Vermillion-Watertown at 2:30 p.m., Parkston-Gretna at 5 p.m., and Vermillion-Parkston at 7:30 p.m. The five ballclubs assigned to the pool which will play games at Yanktonâ�?�?s Riverside Park are host Yankton Post 12, Spearfish, Mitchell, Norfolk and Omaha Bryan. The other pool, playing its games at Hartington, will be Brandon Valley, Sioux Falls East, Rapid City Central, host Hartington and Blair, NE. Sundayâ�?�?s semifinals at Prentis Park start at 11 a.m. with the Yankton poolâ�?�?s champion against a wild card team and the champions of the Vermillion and Hartington pools at 1:30 p.m. The semifinal winners play at 4 p.m. for the tourney title. In the event the wild card club comes from the Yankton pool, the semifinal pairings will change to Yankton champ vs. Hartington champ at 11 a.m. and Vermillion champ vs. wild card at 1:30 p.m. Among the tournament rules which will be in effect are these: â�?¢ 15-run rule after three innings, 12-run rule after four innings, eight-run rule after five innings. â�?¢ No new inning will start after a game has been going on for two hours except that tie games will continue until a decision is reached. â�?¢ The wild card entrant in the semifinals will be the team, exclusive of the three pool champions, which has the best record. If subsequent tie-breakers are needed, they will be, in order, fewest runs allowed, most runs scored, run differential, and coin flip. â�?¢ If there a tie has to be broken to determine a pool champion, the first tie-breaker will be head-to-head record. The subsequent tie-breakers will be the same as in the wild card determination. �?