For the last eight years, the NBC Hap Dumont World Series has been decided at Mills Field and Don Adamson Field in Brainerd.
This year the competition heats up again at 8 a.m. Saturday. Thirteen teams representing eight states will converge on the lakes area with the goal of a World Series win.
This year's 14-and-under baseball tournament features teams from Ohio, New Ulm, Minn. three teams from Kansas, Nebraska, two from Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas and Michigan.
The Brainerd Warriors 14-and-under team is this year's representatives at the NBC Hap Dumont World Series July 26 through July 31.
They played in the tournament last year as a fill in so they have the experience to compete.
"We have a very good idea of the competition," said assistant coach Shawn Carter. "We feel we stack up to any team. Based on the competition we saw last year as a 13-under team, we should have an opportunity to win any game that we play.
Brainerd did receive a poor draw in pool play. With an 8 a.m. game Saturday and three games Sunday the Warriors will have to find ways to lesson the load on its pitching staff.
Pitching and defense has been the team's strengths though. The four man roster of Aric Hurd, Ben Carter, Blake Herron and Austin Schmolke has been solid.
"We have a lot of good arms," said Carter. "Hurd has been dominating and Blake has been really good. Along with Ben and Austin those four are our main pitchers.
"To give an example, last week at the state tournament we lost 4-2, 2-1 and won 3-2. We're in every game. Pitching and defense has not been a problem
Offense has been.
Creating scoring opportunities early will be key for Brainerd. With a .284 team batting average someone will need to step up.
Leading the offense so far has been Nick Jelacie (C-2B) with a .420 average. Hurd (.349) and outfielder Colton Metzger (.314) are the only other players above .300.
"Obviously the most important thing for us is hitting," said Carter. "Last week at the state tournament, we had 23 at bats with runners in scoring position. We struck out 10 times. Clutch hitting is going to be important."
The Warriors are currently 11-13. But have been playing a level up which they hope translates into a good showing for the World Series.
The rest of the Warriors are Chris Smolke (P-INF), Jon Dollittle (OF), Brett Kramer (INF-P) and Bronson Shepherd (OF-1B).
The head coach of Brainerd is Jim Kramer.
Redebaugh to speak
Dr. John Redebaugh of Pequot Lakes will be the guest speaker at the banquet proceeding the tournament.
Redebaugh was inducted into the Central Lake College Hall of Fame this year. He has been the Raiders official team medical official since 1980.
A chiropractor in Pequot Lakes, Redebaugh played in the NFL and Canadian Football League. He was a wide receiver and kicker at Bemidji State University and has been an Olympic decathlon trainer.
The banquet at Mills Field 5 p.m. Friday is open to the public. Food is being prepared by the Eagles Club. The cost $6.50 per person.
Former Brainerd Warriors tennis and girls hockey player, Megan Whalen will sing the National Anthem at 6:30 p.m.
Following will be the Home Run Derby, Base running, outfield throw and catchers throw contests.
The first pitch of the tournament will be 8 a.m. Saturday with the championship game being held Noon Thursday.
Last year's champions
Omaha, Neb. beat Wichita, Kan. 7-2 last year to capture the World Series title.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.