Eight squirt boys softball teams from across the province will square off at the Napanee Fairgrounds in an early season tournament this weekend.
Playing the role as host team will be the U12 Squirt Boyer GM Express, who are looking to use this tournament to help prepare for eliminations next month in Cobourg.
“We pulled in eight teams this year so it seems to be getting to the point where we can fill it every year, which is great,” said Scott Thompson, coach of the U12 Squirt Boyer GM Express. “We have teams this year from Ottawa from Carlton West, we have teams from the Peterborough area then we have a few teams coming from the west too.”
Joining the Express in Pool A will be Peterborough, Oshawa and West Carleton. Pool B will feature Springbrook, Kenmore, Tara and St. George.
Still early in the season, the tournament gives teams a chance to play a tournament format ahead of the qualifiers.
“It’s a good time for us to get some games in and get some reps in and see where we stand with everybody,” said Thompson. “This team, the majority of them were second last year at Ontarios as primarily more of a first year team. The kids that are first year were second at the mite Ontarios. We’ve got a really good squad, we just need to get games and reps in to get everybody’s timing back and get everybody back to playing the way we know they can play.”
Just bragging rights will on the line this weekend, but provincial eliminations aren’t far behind, being held July 13-14 in Cobourg. Napanee will be looking to return to provincials, which will be held in Ponsonby Aug. 10-11.
“It’ll be great for the kids to have a lot of people to play in front of,” Thompson says of this weekend’s tournament in Napanee.
This will mark the second tournament of the season for the U12 Express, who took part in a six team tournament in Wilmot last month. Napanee went 4-1, their lone loss coming to the host team.
Napanee will open this weekend’s tournament against Oshawa Saturday at 9 a.m. They’ll take on West Carlton at 1 p.m. and then wrap up play on Saturday with a 7 p.m. first pitch against Peterborough.
The playoffs will begin Sunday, with the top two teams from each pool facing off at 9 a.m. The championship game will be played at 1 p.m. on the Richard Dickson Field.