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10u_mark120The middle of July is often best known for its hot days, the scent of chicken barbecue, and the sound of children enjoying their escape from school. In Lansing, this is also the time when baseball fills the air. The sound of a ball hitting the catcher’s glove or the sound of the umpire shouting safe as the runner successfully makes it home before the throw.  The sound the bat hitting the ball and the chance to cheer on your team is what brought hundreds of people to the Lansing Town Fields during this past weekend for the Lansing 10U Baseball Festival.

The Lansing 10U Baseball Festival brought together six teams and over 80 area youth together for some friendly competition.  The festival was for boys and girls that were 10 years of age and under. Three teams from Lansing played in a round robin format against two teams from Ithaca and one team from Dryden. The round robin portion of the festival included a total of three games which were played on Friday and Saturday. The teams were then ranked by record and matched up for the finale on Sunday.

A very talented Ithaca 2 team used very strong pitching and strong overall play to go undefeated in round robin play. They were involved in the most exciting game of the two days as they completed a come from behind victory over Lansing Blue in their final at-bat to win a tight 10-9 game.  They ended the round robin play 3-0. A pair of hard fighting Lansing teams ended the round robin play each with identical 2-1 records.

10u_jacob400Jacob Ouellette from Lansing places a successful tag on a play at home in the championship game. (Above) Mark Maybee delivering a pitch for Lansing versus Ithaca 3.

Both teams lost to the undefeated Ithaca 2 team. Lansing Blue, by way of a tie breaker, advanced to the championship game, while Lansing Gold earned the right to play in the first consolation game. Earning the fourth seed and the right to play Lansing Gold was the 1-2 Dryden team. A very good Dryden club played very well throughout the tournament but just came up short against the two Lansing clubs. Another club that played extremely hard was the Ithaca 3 team.  They were able to go 1-2 through the Round Robin portion of the tournament despite playing against some more experienced teams.

The Ithaca 3 team played in the second consolation game against a very young Lansing White club. Despite going 0-3, the Lansing White team did not allow their lack of experience keep them from playing extremely hard as they were true representatives of what playing with heart is all about.

The final day of the tournament brought together the teams for one more game. The championship game matched up Ithaca 2 versus Lansing Blue. This was a rematch between two teams that witnessed their last game against each other go down to the last at bat. This game would be more of the same as Ithaca 2 used some strong all-around play to defeat Lansing Blue 13-5.

The second game lined up a strong hitting Lansing Gold team against a talented Dryden team. The game was tight after the first 3 innings but Lansing Gold opened it up late in the game to take a 15-4 win. The most exciting game of the final day matched up Ithaca 3 versus Lansing White. The determined Lansing team played extremely well and carried the lead all the way to the top of the 6th inning. The Ithaca team used some clutch hitting to fight back to get to within one run. The Lansing team secured two outs with a one run lead before Ithaca tied the game on a close play at first. They would add several more runs to complete the comeback and win the game 22-15.

10u_gavin400Gavin Dowell pitching in the championship game for Lansing

The festival was considered a success both on and off the field. Multiple fund raising events were active during the weekend. Although not directly linked to the festival, a fund raising chicken barbecue was in full swing which benefited from the additional people pulled in by the festival. The Mega Moos Ice Cream truck, which was supporting the chicken barbecue fundraiser, also increased its sales of ice cream to baseball fans sitting in the sun.

One group, Kids in Action Now from the Lansing United Methodist Church, was directly linked to the festival. This service group of 3rd to 6th graders sold concessions for 2 days during the baseball festival. The money collected through concessions and donations went to the Nothing But Nets mission project. Nothing But Nets provides insecticide treated bed nets to protect families from malaria carrying mosquitoes, primarily in Africa. The result of the concession stand will allow 20 more nets to be purchased for the cause.

“The goal of the festival was to provide the teams the opportunity to play several games at a minimal cost.” said festival coordinator Jason Ouellette. “This strong baseball community successfully was able to meet this goal, as well as, support important causes in and out of the community.”

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