The 69th Newton Mexican-American Athletic Club Men’s Fast-Pitch Softball Tournament, the oldest of its type in America, will be Friday through Sunday at Kelsch Field, Washington Road Park Field and Centennial Park.
Opening ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. Friday at Kelsch Field. Games begin at 9 a.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday. The championship games are slated to begin at 5 p.m. Sunday at Kelsch Field.
Twelve teams are expected to compete this weekend.
The Kansas City Indios are the five-time defending tournament champions. Others include the Newton Mexican-American Athletic Club, the Hutchinson Blue Jays, the Kansas City Locos, the Wichita Basic Brown, the Emporia Black Sox, the Salina Bonilla’s, Newton Solo Porque, the Kansas City Bandedos, Newton Los Viejos and the Kansas City Angels. Solo Porque is a pick-up team of the area’s younger players.
The tournament is a modified triple-elimination bracket.
“The Weezers and Kansas City Angels will give the Indios the biggest fight,” NMAAC tournament director Manuel Jaso said. “The Indios have all-around good hitting and pitching. It’s going to take some really good pitching to beat them. A lot of teams in the tournament can keep up with them hitting. They are just a hard team to beat.
“These teams are just so competitive. They are enemies on the field and frienteds off the field. They may run over you, but they will pick you up afterwards. It’s a family, fiesta atmosphere and we’ve had a lot of fun doing this.”
Jaso said this year’s Hall of Fame Class is made up entirely of Viet-Nam veterans. During the opening ceremonies, all veterans in attendance will be invited to come on the field.
The tournament organizers are in the process of gearing up for next year’s 70th anniversary of the tournament.
“We’ll have a lot more celebrations in the area,” Jaso said. “We hope to have teams from Austin and Pueblo back next year, but we’ll see how that goes. That’s one of those things you never know about.”
6 p.m. Opening ceremonies: Color Guard, National Anthem, opening prayer.
6:10 p.m. Scholarship presentation
6:20 p.m. Special Sponsorship Awards
6:30 p.m. Hall of Fame Awards
6:45 p.m. Azteca Dance Troupe
7:15 p.m. Old Timer’s Game
9 a.m. Games at Kelsch Field, Washington Road Field, Centennial Park
8 a.m. Games at Kelsch Field. Washington Road Field
3:30 p.m. Championship game
5 p.m. Championship game two (if necessary)