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July 23, 2014

Tigers Foundation to present baseball, softball tourneys

Week-long event to feature top prep athletes

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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About 90 travel baseball and softball teams from Michigan and Canada will play in the 2014 Detroit Tigers Hometown Baseball Championship, slated for July 31-Aug. 6 at various parks in the city of Detroit and fields at Wayne State University and the University of Detroit-Mercy. Pictured are teams from last year’s tournament.

DETROIT — Baseball fans from across the state and border will converge on Detroit for a weeklong tournament that will showcase the talents of some of the region’s best travel baseball and softball players.

Detroit Tigers Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch Charities, announced that the Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship, presented in collaboration with Youth Development Commission, is set for July 31 – Aug. 6  in Detroit at five sites where nearly 90 youth travel teams from Michigan and Canada will vie for a championship. Travel teams that win league and/or district titles are eligible to participate.

Now in its 19th year, the tournament showcases top-performing boys and girls from 6-19. In 2013, 69 teams in seven age divisions competed in the seven-day tournament. Ninety teams are set to participate this year, according to Micki Steele of Southfield-based Tillman Public Relations — the company advertising the event.

The tournament features opening ceremonies, clinics and skills challenges leading up to the championship games, which draw college recruiters and professional scouts. Winning teams will be recognized during an on-field ceremony Aug. 13 at Comerica Park before the Tigers take on the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The events are open to the public and free to attend, according to Sam Abrams, manager of player relations, youth and sports programs for the Detroit Tigers.

“The Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship allows us to showcase some of the greater Detroit region’s very best baseball and softball talent,” Abrams said. “This level of competition is exciting, and tournament participation continues to grow each year. This region-wide tournament draws thousands of spectators who get to experience Detroit’s recreational jewels.”

Tournament events will take place at facilities provided by the Detroit Recreation Department — Balduck Park, Maheras Gentry Playfield and Stoepel Park, along with venues at the University of Detroit-Mercy and Wayne State University. In past years, former Tigers and active players have made appearances at the ceremonies, clinics, challenges and games.

“The scholar-athletes who participate in our program are provided college- and career-readiness support. We offer leadership skills, ACT prep training, tutoring and NCAA-readiness,” said director of development and communications of Detroit nonprofit Youth Development Commission Audrean Williams in a prepared statement.

“We help them become stronger students and expose them to various concepts and requirements to get them ready to compete in higher education.”

Abrams touted the wealth of talent the tournament has featured over nearly two decades.

“These youngsters are some of the best players in their respective divisions. Many of them go on to earn full scholarships at four-year colleges. Some have been selected for the Major League Baseball draft. Fans can expect exciting tournament play with kids who are serious about the game.”

The Detroit Tigers Foundation is the official charity of the Detroit Tigers baseball team and is an affiliate of Ilitch Charities, a 501(c)(3) public charity. The mission of the foundation is to enhance lives through the game of baseball with a focus on youth, education and recreation, according to the team website, detroit.tigers.mlb.com.

For more information on the tournament, check www.detroittigershometownchampionship.leag1.com/.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.