Don Bachman Memorial Tournament gets underway
Saturday, July 12, 2014 12:00 AM
By John Parent
Officer Greg Blackmore delivers the ceremonial first pitch prior to the start of the opening game of the 2014 Don Bachman Memorial Tournament at Van Wert’s Jubilee Park on Friday night. (DHI Media/John Parent)
DHI Media Sports Editor
VAN WERT — Nineteen youth baseball teams will descend upon three local parks this weekend as Van Wert Youth Baseball hosts the Don Bachman Memorial Tournament once again this year.
Teams from Defiance, Lima, New Haven, Ayersville, Paulding, Delphos, Bryan, Monroe, Decatur and Bath will compete in a 10-and-under division and a 12-and-under group with games taking place all day Saturday on the fields of Jubilee Park, Smiley Park and at Ohio City’s Fireman’s Park. The tournament kicked off on Friday night with opening ceremonies, which included a ceremonial first pitch delivered by DARE officer Greg Blackmore.
This is the ninth year that the tournament has been held. It was created at the urging of Don Bachman before he passed away from cancer nearly a decade ago.
Rick Bachman, one of four Bachman brothers who have helped to continue the legacy of their father, spoke during the opening ceremony on Friday night.
“We decided, as we were going through chemotherapy treatments,” Rick explained, “that we would help the Van Wert youth baseball group develop a little league team, and we’d call them the Mastodons, or the Dons for short.”
That team, a traveling squad of all-stars, has grown each year. There are three Dons teams participating in the 2014 Bachman tourney, including two in the 10U division.
The teams are named in honor of the late Don Bachman, who served the Van Wert community as a coach, official and referee from 1954 to 2005. As chair of the Van Wert Parks and Recreation committee, Bachman pushed for the building of Smiley Park. In 2006, diamond number two at Smiley Park was renamed Don Bachman Field to honor his legacy.
The Don Bachman Memorial Tournament is one of the biggest draws for youth baseball teams. Thanks to community sponsors and volunteers, all proceeds, including concessions, t-shirt sales, and entry fees go directly to the continued development of youth baseball Van Wert. The Bachman brothers even donate their own time, serving as umpires throughout the weekend.
The tournament wraps up on Sunday afternoon, with championship games held at Jubilee Park at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.