Tournaments : : Story
Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Record Field Set for Kernels Foundation Tourney

Jim Ecker        

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- The WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship turns nine years old this weekend, and the tournament will be celebrating its birthday with a record field of 40 teams from 11 states.

 

The Reds Midwest Scout Team is returning to Cedar Rapids to defend the crown it won last year. At stake is an automatic berth in the WWBA World Championship, to be held Oct. 21-25 at the Roger Dean Sports Complex in Jupiter, Fla.

 

Andy Stack, the head coach of the Reds Midwest Scout Team, has been bringing teams to Cedar Rapids since the early stages of the tournament before finally breaking into the winner's circle last year.

 

"It was great," he said. "It was kind of a weight off my shoulders, because we'd been the runner-up about five different times. I thought they were going to name the second-place trophy after me."

 

Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium will serve as the host location for the Kernels Foundation Championship, with games also being held at the University of Iowa, Daniels Park, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Kirkwood Community College, Linn-Mar, Marion, Norway, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Solon, Cedar Rapids Washington and Cedar Rapids Xavier.

 

Stack, who is a full-time midwest scout for the Cincinnati Reds, thinks he has another strong club.

 

"I know winning the championship is a hard thing to do," he said. "We'll pitch pretty well; we have a good group of arms. It will depend on how we hit and play defense."

 

The 40 teams have been divided into eight pools of five teams apiece, and the eight pool champions will advance to the quarterfinals on Sunday night. The semifinals are scheduled at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Monday at 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., with the finals set for 2 p.m.

 

Teams are coming from Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. The tournament will feature a healthy list of high school seniors who have made Division I commitments to Toledo, Kentucky, Louisville, Central Michigan, Tulane, Virginia Tech, Bradley, Kansas State, Nebraska, Iowa, Notre Dame, Creighton, Wichita State, San Diego, Western Illinois, Illinois State, South Alabama and Creighton.

 

The tournament begins Friday night. The popular "Fastest Man Contest" and Home-Run Derby will be held Saturday night at the stadium at 7:30.

 

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