MOUNT VERNON — The 2009 Memorial Classic returns to Mount Vernon on Saturday for the 23rd year with a strong field of 12 teams. Play opens at 11 a.m. at Phillips Park and runs through Saturday, July 11. The championship game is scheduled for 3 p.m. on July 11.
The Memorial Classic, an independent tournament, has changed little in the last 23 years. The same fundamental ideas with which it began are still being practiced today. From the start, sportsmanship and a winning attitude were encouraged.
“Our goal is to maintain the tournament, keep it top notch and first class,” said Memorial Classic chairperson Suzy Davidson. “We like to do a lot of fun stuff throughout the week; we give out coupons for free car washes and batting cages throughout the week and we also give out a trip. We used to give out a trip to either a Cleveland Indians game or a Cincinnati Reds game, but in light of the economy, we decided to do two trips to a Columbus Clippers game, which includes tickets for four and $100 cash they can use for gas and food. We think it is going to be a good week, and we are excited about the teams that are in.”
Southwest Licking took the 2008 Classic title, led by Hunter Holton, Seth Casto and Joe Swisher, but will not be defending its title this season. Neither will runner-up, the North Newark Gladiators. Instead, 12 other teams will be battling for the top spot.
The 2008 championship game was one for the ages as Southwest Licking and North Newark Gladiators battled for six innings. The game was tied at 5 entering the bottom of the sixth when Holton stepped to the plate for the Warriors and slashed a triple to right-center field. The next batter, Mitchel Coyle, brought the game to a close with a single to right field, scoring Holton.
Among the teams gunning for the 2009 title are five area squads — North Fork All-Stars, Remy’s Kokosing Valley All-Stars, Fredericktown Freddies, Mount Vernon Orange (12-year-olds) and Mount Vernon Black (11-year-olds). Also competing are Madison, Coshocton Redskins, Mound City All-Stars, LCSA Ballers, Dresden 12s, Dresden 11s and Licking Valley. There are two new teams competing in the 2009 Classic — LCSA and Coshocton.
“This year we’ve got some new teams coming, which I am excited about,” said Davidson. “It will be a good group of teams. ... We always have tough teams from Newark, and North Fork is always tough. I don’t know what Coshocton has got, but I think they are in the tournament because they must have a good team. I think the teams will measure up. ... We’re hoping for some good competition.”
Making up the North Fork All-Stars, which are managed by Jeff Young and coached by Sean Little and Walt Taylor, are Crew Young, Collin Bates, Adam Stout, Jimmy Crabtree, Logan Marston, Cody Wilcox, Jake Kennedy, William Sherer, Chase Conner, Brandon Taylor, Austin Posner and Justin Doup.
William Stump manages the Remy’s Kokosing Valley All-Stars, which are coached by bob Peck. The team includes Kyle Stump, Thomas Troy, Robert Williams, Colter Hoar, Nick Remillard, Taylor Moser, River Christian, Dylan Green, Bryce Johnson, Zach Hill and Reed Pipes.
The Fredericktown Freddies, managed by Mike Steel and coached by John Singrey and John Giffin, include Elijah Robinson, Brodhi Steel, Chase Mowery, Erik Tenney, Braxton McQueen, Kohl Perkins, Logan Singrey, Mathew Giffin, Devin Kessler, Andrew Cubbage and Tyler Cockrell.
One record was broken in the 2008 tournament. Robert Curvin of Madison smacked four home runs to set the mark. Dresden re-wrote the record books in 1991, setting 15 team and individual marks. Nine of the those records still stand.
All of the teams will see action on Saturday as they try to leave their own marks. Mount Vernon Black will face off against Remy’s Kokosing Valley All-Stars at 1 p.m. Saturday, and Mount Vernon Orange will take on Coshocton at 5 p.m. North Fork and Fredericktown each drew byes in the opening round. North Fork will play the winner of Mount Vernon Black and Remy’s on Sunday at noon, while Fredericktown faces the winner of Mount Vernon Orange and Coshocton on Sunday at 4 p.m.