By Mike Mattson
Local Sports Journal
ROOSEVELT PARK – The city of Roosevelt Park rolled out a red carpet over the past five days for the Little League Majors (11-12) state baseball tournament.
And it proved to be quite a show at Delmar Field.
“It’s an honor to host an event like this,” said John Reelman, who is president of the Roosevelt Park Youth Association. “The weather has been great and the talent is unbelievable.”
The state tourney – featuring 16 district champions from around the state – began last Friday. Opening Ceremonies included reigning Miss Michigan KT Maviglia throwing out the first pitch.
Marsh Field also hosted a skills competition involving the all-stars last Saturday night. Hundreds of spectators attended the games, which culminated in Wednesday’s title contest between Byron Township and Midland.
Midland defeated Byron Township 6-5 to move on to the Central Regional at Indianapolis from July 31-Aug. 9. The regional champion also will participate in the 75th Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Host Roosevelt Park of District 12 finished 1-2 in pool play, including its 5-3 win on Sunday against Melvindale. Coach Ken Rose’s squad lost its other two pool games to Tecumseh and Bay City Southwest.
Eight quarterfinal games were played Monday. That set up Tuesday’s semifinals, with Byron Township topping St. Clair and Midland defeating Grosse Pointe Park.
Roosevelt Park (2001) is the only area team to win a state title and play in the regional at Indianapolis. That team lost to Brownsburg, Ind., 4-1 in the regional championship game televised on ESPN-2.
Roosevelt Park also finished state runner-up in 2002.
For Reelman, it’s been a hectic, rewarding week at Delmar Field.
He had a loyal base of 20- to 25 hardcore volunteers to make the tournament run without a hitch. Their duties included being game officials and field maintenance workers. Seventeen umpires also were on hand to supervise the games.
The tourney brought hundreds of visitors to the area and helped boost the local economy.
Reelman said the many months of planning and hard work behind the scenes was well worth it.
“It means a lot (for Roosevelt Park),” Reelman said. “Everything ran so smoothly. It’s been a great tournament and great fun. The No. 1 thing is, it’s for the kids.”