July 19th, 2024

Lethbridge Miners kick-start season hosting Ron Matthews Memorial Baseball Tournament

By Lethbridge Herald on May 12, 2022.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

For the first time in three years, the Ron Matthews Memorial Baseball Tournament will resume play this weekend at Spitz Stadium.

The host Lethbridge American Legion Miners ‘A’ team along with five other teams will be vying to win the tournament.

Players on each team range from 16 to 19-years-old.

“For this tournament, it’s been longstanding,” said Wayne Pallett, tournament organizer.

“It’s probably been run for some 30 years and just a great program with the Miners —  you know kind of the Single ‘A’ American Legion team and just an upstart to get ready for their schedule and just gives the kids a chance to kind of group together right away in a tournament. And it’s nice it’s hosted here at Spitz.”

The Miners roster was only chosen last weekend and the team had a quick turnaround for this tournament.

“Strange enough, the kids will be in good shape,” said Pallett.

“Most of the kids that are coming here have been active playing, whether it’s been in the Lethbridge high school baseball academy. So for the most part, they really do have a whole bunch of reps under their belt, even from this spring already. It’s just a matter of really getting out there and playing their position and I think they’ll be just fine.”

Pallett said it’s kind of just to check your roster early and to bring some good teams in to the city to make sure that you can compete.

“For them it’s just a chance to see how (they ) kind of stack up early,” he said.

Pallett says the champions have bounced around from team to team.

“It’s what the Lethbridge Miners tournament does here,” he said.

“For this team, it’s just what’s  next for them. Are they ready  for the Elks (AA team), are they getting ready for the next level of American Legion? So, it’s really a great stepping stone for these kids.”

Pallet said, “People are going to be excited to get out there and to watch some baseball again.”

Pallet felt this tournament is an historic piece for the city.

“Ron Matthews was a former American Legion Elks player himself and just historically it’s been in his honour,” said Pallet.

Miners coach Nick Ankermann said it’s going to be really nice because (the team) always gets a nice turnout at this tournament.

“It’s nice to bring all the kids in the area together to make one big team and just try and go out there and represent Lethbridge and show them what we’re capable of doing,” he said.

The Miners will open up pool play tonight against the Sherwood Park Athletics at 7:30 p.m., followed by two games on Saturday beginning at noon against the Calgary Strive and at 7:30 p.m. versus the Cranbrook Bandits.

The playoff round will begin Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and conclude with the championship game at 5 p.m.

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