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Clarksburg to host regional youth baseball tournament

by Anthony Hanshew

STAFF WRITER

Clarksburg has landed quite a summer sports trifecta.

On July 29, hundreds of distance runners, including many of the world's elite, will compete in the fourth Greater Clarksburg 10K. That same weekend, Clarksburg will host the National Darts Hall of Fame Tournament.

Baseball takes center stage the following week. From Aug. 4-9, Frank Loria Memorial Field will be the site of the Babe Ruth 13-15-year-old Ohio Valley Regional Tournament.

Ten teams from seven states will compete in the double elimination tournament for the right to advance to the Babe Ruth World Series in Lebanon, Mo.

Clarksburg is one of just eight sites nationwide to host a Babe Ruth Regional Tournament.

"For Harrison County to secure the bid speaks highly not only for the local program but for the community," said John Miller, Ohio Valley Regional Tournament Director and acting State Commissioner. "Harrison County has always supported Babe Ruth baseball and youth league baseball in general.

"This is just a great opportunity to showcase our area to visitors from throughout the Ohio Valley."

Ohio Valley Regional Commissioner Bob Dickson said a combination of facilities and community support made Clarksburg an easy choice.

"Two years ago I came to Clarksburg and spent a weekend," Dickson said. "I did a tour of the area and looked at the field. I was caught between Appleton, Wisc., and Clarksburg last year, but Appleton had a brand new facility.

"I told (Miller) if he wanted it this year, he could have it."

The tournament is comprised of state championships teams from West Virginia., Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Northern Indiana, Southern Indiana, Western Kentucky, and Eastern Kentucky. The host team will be decided Monday night at Frank Loria Field between the Harrison County Nationals and Harrison County Americans. Game time is 7 p.m.

Teams arrive in Clarksburg on Aug. 3 and play begins the following day. Four games will be played Aug. 4-6, three games are slated for Aug. 7, two more are scheduled for Aug. 8 and the tournament concludes with one or two games on Aug. 9.

Players from out-of-state teams are housed by local families for the duration of the tournament. The tournament is expected to bring 500 to 1,000 people into the area daily.

"We find that a lot of the host families go to the games that their players are playing in to root for them," Dickson said. "It creates more interest for the team as well as creating more interest in the area."

Hosting the tournament is roughly a $20,000 investment by the Harrison County Babe Ruth League with the help of local sponsors.

"I would imagine with the support of Clarksburg and the support Harrison County teams have had when they play out of state that (attendance) won't be a problem," Dickson said. "There seems to be a very genuine interest in the community."

Clarksburg last hosted an Ohio Valley Regional Tournament more than 20 years ago.

The local league is still seeking assistance with all aspects of the tournament including financial, host housing and volunteers. For more information contact Miller at 622-0871, Mark DeFazio at 842-9207 or Arlene Richards at 745-3592.

Staff writer Anthony Hanshew can be reached at 626-1444.

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