AUSABLE FORKS — The 52nd-annual AuSable Forks Fast-Pitch Tournament will be held from July 11 to July 13 at Billy Mitchell Memorial Field.
Teams will be coming from as far away as Ontario and Quebec, all over New York State and one team from Boston, Mass. First place will be worth $2,000, with $1,000 for second and $350 for third and fourth.
The AuSable Forks American Legion Post #504 color guard will be raising the American and Canadian flags, and Susan Richards will sing both the Canadian and American national anthems prior to the start of the 7 p.m. Friday night game.
Also before the start of Friday’s game will be the dedication of the tournament to Tom O’Neill, who will be in his 37th year as the tournament director. O’Neill was director from 1963 when the tournament began until 1987.
O’Neill had the tournament dedicated to him on the 25th year and he came back in 2003 until the present as tournament director. He loves the game of fast-pitch softball and loves being around all the players, managers, umpires and the volunteers who helps keep this tournament getting better.
O’Neill directs the tournament but would be the first to say “without all the committee members and volunteers you see working in some capacity on the scene or behind the scene, this wouldn’t be possible. Thank you volunteers for everything you do.”
The tournament has been rained out twice since 1963 — in 1976 and 2000. An old saying in AuSable Forks is that “It never rains in Happy Valley. As long as the rain stops, the field can be made playable.”
New teams in the annual event include the Seadogs from Boston, Mass., Oshawa Rebels, Oshawa, Ont., Stittsville 56ers, Stittsville, Que., D.A. Collins from Fonda; St. Henri is now the St. Clair Red Sox, St. Clair, Que., along with the Kanata Pirates from Kanata, formerly the Barhaven Broadway Blues.