Marshall hosting wooden bat tourney

MARSHALL – Despite rainy conditions, the Marshall Mudcats Legion baseball team will be hosting the 14th annual Wooden Bat Classic, starting today with the first game at 5:30 p.m. between Albany and Watertown, S.D., with Marshall against Waconia at 7:30 p.m.

Both of those are set to be played at Legion Field. Thetournament also features teams from Fargo, N.D., Mitchell, S.D., Springfield and Cold Spring.

Getting competition from outside the area serves many benefits.

“It gives us a unique opportunity to play good competition,” Mudcats manager Mitch Maxwell said. “We’re bringing teams in from other places, but we know they are quality teams, so the level of competition is really good.”

While it helps the players from a competition perspective, it also helps the town of Marshall in general as the teams that are going to come play will stay overnight at the hotels and spend a weekend in the town.

Waconia and Springfield both bring quality programs to the table.

The wooden bat dynamic will change the game for the high school age kids.

It puts an emphasis on defense.

“When you use a wooden bat, the sweet spot decreases,” Maxwell said. “It makes the inside pitch that much more important.”

Tuffy Meyer, a member of the Legion board, will be throwing out the first pitch before Friday’s opening game.

Weather has caused some changes. Saturday’s games have been moved from Southwest Minnesota State to Irish Yard, just outside of Milroy and home to the Milroy Irish amateur baseball team.

Each team will get four guaranteed seven inning games played under Minnesota State High School League rules with an eight-run rule after five innings.

The tournament is sponsored by U.S. Bank, and the team would like to thank the teams for traveling and the parent volunteers for assisting with concessions.