Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Metro softball tourney will have 361 teams

Annual tourney runs Thursday through Aug. 6

By Malcolm C. Knox
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Even though the teams won't take the field until Thursday, the drama in the 49th annual Fry Fastening/ASA Cincinnati Metro Softball Championship already has started.

  What: 49th Fry Fastening/ASA Cincinnati Metro Softball Championship
  When: First game is 6:30 p.m. Thursday; championship rounds are Aug. 5-6.
  Where: Rumpke Park, Miamitown
  Teams: 361 in five divisions (major division, 8; A, 19; B, 66; C, 148; D, 120)
  Admission: $2, which includes a 50-rcent token to use at the concession stand.
        In the tournament's five divisions — major, A,B,C and D — 361 teams are entered. The draw was held Tuesday night.

        “In the upper divisions, it can really be big,” said Dan Saylor, executive director of Rumpke Ballpark and the Amateur Softball Association commissioner.

        Teams begin play Thursday at Rumpke Park in Miamitown, though the opening ceremony will be Friday. The tournament will end Aug.6, when the division championships will be played.

        The teams will play five rounds of games the first two days, and 11 rounds Saturday and Sunday. Along with Rumpke, other early-round games will be played at Eggleston Park, Northside KFC, Pastime Par, River Front West, West Side Sports Complex and Riverstar Park.

        Some teams go on to play in regional and national tournaments, but for most, the Metro is it.

        “For them, it's the World Series,” said Aaron Smith, manager of the defending champion EMR Equipment Maintenance/Meiners Cafe Worth team. “It's not do or die for us. Some people take it too serious and that puts extra pressure on them. Still it's just a game.”

        The teams are placed in the brackets with no regard to rankings. The top two teams in a division could play in the first round, unlike many tournaments where the higher seeds play lower-seeded teams in the early rounds.

        Teams expected to contend for the title in the eight-team major division are EMR Equipment, Perkins/Watanabe Optical, Western Hills Window and Batesville KFC. “There's several teams that can throw a fly in this buttermilk,” Saylor said. “You can never count (Batesville KFC) out, they hit the ball so hard.”


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