It would be nice to say, "come rain or shine" there will be baseball at Dwyer Stadium this weekend.
But Batavia Rotary Club's annual baseball tournament has never had that luxury. If there's rain on Saturday, there is no tournament.
The inaugural tournament was in 1999, and on the intervening 23 years, there have been 18 tournaments played. Three years were lost to rain and two to COVID.
"The reason the rain-out happens is that it's so late in the season for these teams, and they have sectionals, and they have to qualify to have enough games in for sectionals, so it's been almost impossible to have a rain date for the tournament," said Tom Turnbull, tournament organizer of Rotary since 2004. "So if it doesn't get played on Saturday, chances are it won't be played at all."
The good news is, there is only a chance of scattered rain on Saturday. Turnbull expects all four games scheduled that day to be played.
The first game is at 10 a.m. and pits Le Roy (9-4) against Notre Dame (11-0). At 1 p.m., Attica (7-4) takes on Batavia (8-6). The consolation game is at 4 p.m. and the championship game is 7 p.m.
"The teams that are playing are all very good teams," said Notre Dame Coach Rick Rapone. "They've all got very good records. They all play baseball the right way and the way you're supposed to play. And most importantly, it's good to just be back doing it. The two years with COVID had been very, very, very tough on the boys."
All four coaches told Rotary members on Wednesday that their players were excited about the tournament.
"It's exciting to play at the Dwyer facility to play against the teams that are there," said Attica Coach Shawn Fromwiller. "Good competition only gets you better. It only gets us ready for sectionals playing against the teams that are in a tournament. I know the guys are excited about it. They've been asking, 'what time are we playing? And who are we playing?'"
Le Roy's head coach, Leon Koukides, thinks so highly of the tournament that he wrote a letter to Rotary asking that his team be invited this year.
"I really wanted to be a part of this," Koukides said. "We've not been able to be a part of it for many years, and I just wanted to give my athletes an opportunity to be in this forum, to play at Dwyer Stadium and get recognized by some of the other community members."
James Patric played in the first two tournament games in 1999 and 2000 as a member of The Batavia Squad. Now he's the team's head coach, and between coaching in Oakfield and in Batavia, he's been a part of the tournament every year except 2001, 02, 03, and 04.
"It's a great tournament, great competition," he said. "It's always exciting."
Top Photo: Ty Strollo, Le Roy, Jesse Reinhart, Batavia, Gavin Schrader, Notre Dame, and Dan Bialek, Batavia.
Photos by Howard Owens
All of the seniors from the four teams that attended the Rotary meeting.