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Superior to host Babe Ruth State Softball Tournament

The Superior fastpitch softball teams knew they would be hosting the Babe Ruth State Softball Tournament this year, but the amount of work they had to do to prepare may have been a little unexpected.

The Superior fastpitch softball teams knew they would be hosting the Babe Ruth State Softball Tournament this year, but the amount of work they had to do to prepare may have been a little unexpected.

"An insurmountable amount of work has gone in, more especially in the last few months," said Richard Eisenmann, who played a large role in organizing the tournament and also will coach the 16U team. "But we did start planning literally a year ago."

After last year's state tournament, it was announced that Superior would be the would be the host site for the tournament this year. Since then, Eisenmann said he and the others involved with the tournament have met sporadically. In the last month and a half, however, the group met much more frequently to take care of the large amount of organizational work that needed to be done. From making the tournament programs to arranging umpires, there was much work to do.

"Organizing the help has been a large part of it because this year they from just a double elimination tournament, which has traditionally always been the style, to doing pool play games and then (going) into the double elimination after the pool play," Eisenmann said.

That change made what would have been a 40 or 50-game tournament into a about 75-game tournament. As a result many more manpower hours are needed in this year's tournament than in pervious years.

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"It's been very challenging," Eisenmann said.

The organizers ran into yet another challenge when they learned an additional tournament was being held at the Babe Ruth Complex. The softball organizers had planned to charge admission for their tournament at the gate, so their plans had to be changed slightly.

"The Lakeview Baseball Classic, which is the big regional tournament, is being played Saturday and Sunday, if I'm not mistaken," Eisenmann said. "They're going to have their entrance to the north of the complex. So where the softball fields are, to the south end, that will be our entry for softball. So we will be able to charge at the gate, and tickets will be available."

A daily adult pass is $5, daily student (under 18 years old) passes are $3, a daily family pass is $10 and children less than five years old get in for free. For those planning to attend every day, tournament passes will also be sold. A family tournament pass is $25, an adult tournament pass is $12 and a student tournament pass is $8 .

Eisenmann also said parking could be an issue, so those able to ride a bike or walk to the tournament would do well to consider those options.

Some preparation did go smoothly for the volunteers, though. Work had to be done to smooth of some of the fields and get them into shape -- especially at Wade Bowl, where the 10U divisions will play. For the most part, though, Eisenmann said the Superior Youth Organization did a fine job taking care of the Belknap Plaza fields, so the tournament workers only had to make small adjustments on the women's fields and set up concessions.

So far, Eisenmann thinks well over 100 people have offered to volunteer their time to make the tournament successful. Volunteers will be working admission and concession stands, selling T-shirts, announcing, keeping score, helping with field upkeep and much more. Even with so many people already slated to help Eisenmann said more volunteers would certainly be welcome.

"They could call up to the last minute, and if we didn't need them, we'd thank them for their offer," Eisenmann said. "But you never know, they might call at the exact moment we need them most."

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To volunteer, Eisenmann can be reached at 715-390-7915.

Even for those who don't wish to volunteer, Eisenmann felt the tournament will be an event worth attending.

"Traditionally, Babe Ruth has been a very family-oriented, community-oriented softball and baseball affiliation," he said. "Most of the teams that will be here are very dedicated to the Babe Ruth system. We all support each other on a regular basis."

"We're very happy to see other local communities, such as the Maple organization and also Minong," Eisenmann continued. "We feel that they'll be very happy with the results of the way this tournament is run."

Northwestern has three teams in the tournament (10U, 14U and 16U) and Northwood has one (16U). Superior has one team in each of the four age levels, and Eisenmann felt the teams will represent the community well. This is the first year Superior has had a 10U team in the state tournament, and the 14U team was absent from the tournament last year.

Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids and Marinette are favorites going into the tournament, but Eisenmann thinks the Superior teams will be able to challenge. Indeed, as coach of the Fillies (16U), Eisenmann likes his chances.

"I would say that we should be able to hold up really well, and we think we should be able to challenge for the championship," he said.

The Fillies have won two championships since they began participating in the Babe Ruth State Tournament, and a number of Superior teams at other age levels have earned runner-up honors.

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"I would not be surprised at all if there are local teams that pull some upsets," Eisenmann said.

The complete tournament schedule can be found on the scoreboard on Page B3.

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