Local youth all stars compete in invitational

Published 5:53 pm Thursday, June 23, 2016

BELHAVEN — Little Tar Heel tournaments don’t get underway for local all-star youth baseball teams until July 9, but a lot of standout ballplayers in the area are taking the diamond a little early.

Belhaven is hosting a 10U and 12U invitational baseball tournament. Teams from Washington, Bath and Belhaven, as well as a few others from outside Beaufort County, will compete against one another. The main objective is to get the players prepared for their July tournaments.

“It’s an invitational tournament to prepare kids for upcoming Little Tar Heel tournaments. Unfortunately, there’s only four teams competing in the 10U division,” said Washington youth baseball president Shawn Yates. Three of those four teams will be Washington, Bath and Belhaven.

Most all-star players play recreation baseball for teams throughout the county. This tournament is a means of introducing them to the level of play they’ll see in the Little Tar Heel tournament. It also makes sure they get to see game action between the end of the recreation season and the start of all-star tournaments.

“It gives them a real experience of what to expect with all star, as far as a real-game situation in tournament play,” Yates said.

The 10U tournament got underway on Thursday evening and continues on Friday starting at 6 p.m. The finals of the double-elimination tournament will take place on Saturday, as will the entirety of the 12U tournament.

While the 10U teams will compete in a double-elimination format, Yates said the 12U groups will face off in a round-robin tournament, ensuring that each team plays every other squad. North Beaufort, Belhaven and Dare County will compete I nth 12U division, which begins Saturday at 9 a.m.

Spectators and coaches alike also get an opportunity to see how the local all-star teams will gel ahead of the July tournaments.

The tournament will be held at the Belhaven Parks and Recreation fields behind the old John A. Wilkersons High School.