ROFF — Roff High School will be the mecca of small-school baseball powerhouses Thursday through Saturday, when 10 of the top teams in the state get together for the 25th Annual Roff Baseball Tournament.
All 10 teams are ranked in the top 10 of their respective classes, and six are ranked sixth or better.
“It doesn’t matter if you go on the front side or the back side, there’s going to be good ballgames every day,” said tournament director and Roff head coach Ead Simon. “It’s going to be a fun tournament.”
Roff is ranked No. 1 in Class B and is sitting at 15-2 on the season after holding off Class 2A No. 11 Amber-Pocasset 14-12 Monday night. The Tigers beat Class 2A No. 4 Dale 11-0 and Class 6A power Mustang 11-6 last week.
“We played well through our Alabama trip (during spring break). Since we’ve been back, they really haven’t competed like I would like them to compete. We’ve tried to address that a little bit,” Simon said. “I thought we responded pretty well the other day against Dale. That was probably the best we’ve competed at the plate all year. That’s what makes us go — when we’re having competitive at-bats one through nine. That puts a lot of pressure on the other team.”
Roff and everyone else in the tournament will be put to the test during tournament play. The field includes: Leedy (No. 6 in Class B), Shattuck (No. 9 in Class A), Rattan (No. 3 in Class A), Granite (No. 10 in Class B), Dale, Varnum (No. 8 in Class B), Lookeba-Sickles (No. 9 in Class B), Asher (No. 4 in Class B) and Tushka (No. 6 in Class A).
The Tigers got dealt a tough blow when they lost senior standout Dayne Bowerman to an elbow injury in the win over Mustang. Bowerman did it all for Roff.
“You can’t replace a kid like him, but I’ve been bragging for two years that I had the best backup catcher in the state,” Simon said.
The veteran Roff coach, who reached the 1,000-win mark this spring, said he believes teams like to come to his tournament to get prepared for the postseason.
“One thing (that makes it attractive) is that it’s right before the playoffs,” Simon said.
Thursday’s first-round schedule includes games at Roff and Tushka.
The slate at Roff includes the host Tigers vs. Granite at 12:30 p.m., and Shattuck versus Rattan at 2:30 p.m. A consolation game will follow at 5 p.m., and Leedey will face the Shattuck-Rattan winner at 7 p.m.
The slate at Tushka includes Dale versus Varnum at 12:30 p.m.; Asher versus Lookeba-Sickles at 2:30 p.m.; a consolation game at 5 p.m.; and host Tushka vs. the Asher-Lookeba winner at 7 p.m.
Roff will host five games on Friday, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday’s play will consist of a consolation championship contest at noon, a third-place game at 2 p.m. and the championship game at 4 p.m.