Tournament

The U11 team consisting of (kneeling) Jake Faur, Johnny Sullivan, Murray Henricks, and (standing) Michael Clark, Aaron Stumbaugh and Dan Sullivan are shown with trophies from a first-place showing at the USSSA World Series in Southhaven, Miss., last season.

The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

CLINTON — The Clinton Comets baseball team has annually hosted the Classic Youth Baseball Tournament for the past six or seven years, with the 2009 tournament to be held this weekend.

This year, though, the tournament will be part of the United States Specialty Sports Association’s Global World Series.

According to Clinton tournament organizer Dan Sullivan, the Global World Series organizes tournaments through which club and travel teams from every state can qualify for the World Series.

Sullivan stated that the Global World Series is a new division of USSSA, with this being the first year of the series. He indicated that the series was created to offer increasing numbers of teams a place to compete.

According to Sullivan, club and travel teams are not involved in Little League or junior programs. Teams like the Comets are more advanced and play at a higher level to develop and advance skills.

The Clinton Comets won the bid to host the sanctioned tournament this year. Forty-seven teams in five age divisions, 9U (9 and younger) to 13U (13 and younger), will gather in Clinton to play games starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Games will continue all day Saturday and conclude on Sunday.

Teams from Bettendorf, Camanche, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Coralville, Iowa City, Johnston, Moline, Ill., Morrison, Ill., Muscatine, North Scott, Sterling, Ill., and the Quad-Cities are set to participate in the tournament.

Games will be held at the Clinton Pony League, Ericksen Community Center, Camanche Junior Baseball and Chancy Park. Sullivan stated that the tournament will be on a tight schedule with the limited number of diamonds.

Games will be played back-to-back throughout the day.

“We actually had about 17 more teams wanting to participate but because we did not have enough diamonds available to us, we had to decline their entries,” Sullivan said. “In the future if Clinton gets the opportunity to build additional diamonds or a new complex, this tournament could be huge.”

Sullivan has been working since December 2008 to prepare for the tournament. He has recruited teams, secured diamonds and worked to provide amenities for the teams.

All team members will receive free admission to the Clinton LumberKings game on Friday evening.

Sullivan has also been assisted by Comet parent Leslie Stumbaugh. Stumbaugh has helped plan concessions, worked on a tournament program for the weekend and worked with the Clinton Chamber of Commerce to assemble goodie bags of visitor information and coupons.

Stumbaugh said she is thrilled that the tournament will be in Clinton.

“I can’t wait to show off Clinton,” Stumbaugh stated. “I hope people in the community come out and watch our youth play baseball.”

Sullivan is estimating that 550 players, 50 coaches and around 1,500 parents and fans will gather in Clinton this weekend.

“It’s a significant amount of people coming to town,” said Sullivan. He indicated that some teams will be commuting for games, while others will find lodging in Clinton for the weekend.

The Clinton Convention and Visitors Bureau is estimating that the tournament will bring in around $525,000 to the community, stated Heather Hilgendorf-Cooley, director of the bureau.

The amount was determined by estimating the average daily spending of travelers in Iowa. Average daily spending includes lodging, transportation, food, entertainment and retail. The bureau also took into consideration that the Best Western Frontier, which is offering a special rate to teams, has 70 rooms secured for the weekend.

“This is a win-win situation for both the Clinton Comets and the Clinton community,” stated Hilgendorf-Cooley.

For more information on the tournament schedule, locations and teams participating, visit www.clintoncometbaseball.com.

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