This time of year brings so much excitement with tournament play: The mayhem and craziness of early round upsets and the madness of multiple games being played throughout the day. Is there really anything better than the tournament?
Of course, I'm talking about High School Baseball tournaments and this upcoming week has several brackets featuring some of the Bay Area's best teams!
Many of these events have been around for years and traditionally fall during spring break. That means games throughout the day including some particularly awesome 8:30 AM start times (Yawn...). Lets take a look at the field for 4 of the tournaments we will be covering next week
Encinal's 22nd annual Willie Stargell Classic: A long running tradition on the Island features the Jets, California, Heritage, Alameda, Skyline, Concord, San Lorenzo and defending NCS Champ Acalanes. First round action begins Saturday with the Finals on Wednesday. HIGHLIGHT: You may just see some geese out there on the Encinal Ball field.
Valley Christian's Crown Classic: A 15 team field featuring Valley Christian, Wilcox, and Clayton Valley as well as some travelers. Oakdale, Crater, and Carmel all make the trip to San Jose for a tournament that is played at several different schools, occasionally with 5 games going at once. HIGHLIGHT: Good Food at the Valley Christian snack bar and of course a hilltop view.
44th annual Alhambra Tournament: This one holds a special place in my heart because it was the first tournament I covered when starting out at Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area. Granada and Alhambra are on opposite sides of the bracket and would be a very good final game. Tournament also features: El Cerrito, Albany, Arroyo, Pinole Valley, St. Joe's, and Linden. HIGHLIGHT: All turf field, and a bench player may save you from getting hit with a ball thrown from the outfield... happened for me!
Elite 8 at St Francis: This was one of the only tournaments to keep their schedule last year as a huge rainstorm caused havoc for the rest of the tournaments. This is also the tournament where I first got hit by a ball while shooting in the rain. This year's field features a talented St Francis team who is ranked tops in the state as well as some other solid programs: Amador Valley, Newark Memorial, Alameda, Palma, Dublin, and Damonte Ranch. HIGHLIGHT: Night Baseball! And right by a hospital for when you get hit by a ball while shooting in the rain.
If you are off school or work for Spring Break next week and feel like soaking in some sun and watching a ton of baseball... Be sure to support any one of these great events.