Publish Date: 6/24/2009
June 15, 2009
MANSFIELD – The 11th annual Joel Stephens Invitational Tournament, presented by Citizen’s & Northern Bank and Mansfield University, will take place Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5.
Games will be played at three sites; MU’s Shaute Field, Kelly Field in Smythe Park, Mansfield, and at Joel Stephens Memorial Field at Williamson H.S. in Tioga.
The 16-team field features nine Twin Tiers teams competing against squads from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Canada.
Founded in 1998 to honor the memory of Joel Stephens and other players from the Twin Tiers, the tournament has built a reputation as one of the top senior level baseball tournaments in the Northeast.
“Our number one goal has always been that this be a player’s tournament,” Ron Stephens, Joel’s father, said. “We want to make the participants feel as special as the people the tournament honors. We also want to help people, as Joel always tried to do, by supporting charities, great causes and people in need.”
All money raised by the tournament benefits the Joel Stephens Foundation, which supports several charities. Last year more that $4,000 was donated to several causes including the Josh Palmer Fund, The Star Wish Foundation and Joel’s Kids.
Admission to all tournament games is free. The Joel Stephens Invitational depends on entry fees, donations, a raffle, merchandise sales, and program ad sales to generate revenue.
This year’s raffle includes baseball memorabilia and a four ticket package to a Washington Nationals home game, donated by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, and an Apple Ipod Nano 8GB.
Raffle tickets are $1 or six for $5 and will be available from any tournament committee member and participating teams before the tournament and at Shaute Field during the tournament.
“The support and generosity of area businesses, organizations and individuals is what makes this tournament possible,” Stephens added. “Citizens & Northern Bank and Mansfield University have been with us from the beginning have stayed with us, along with many others, during these tough economic times.”
“We also wouldn’t be able to put this tournament on without the all volunteers, who give their time, especially on a holiday weekend, to make this event a success,” he added.
The Joel Stephens Invitational features four divisions. Each division winner advances to the semifinal to compete for the Joel Stephens Trophy on Sunday, July 5. The four division runner-ups will compete for the Josh Palmer Trophy.
The official opening ceremonies will take place on Friday, July 3, 2 p.m. at Shaute Field and will feature the parade of teams, as well as special presentations and a tribute to Joel Stephens.
For a full tournament schedule and other information, check online at gomounties.com
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