The Price Chopper/Market 32 Baseball Fest is returning to Central Park in Schenectady this weekend.
The six-team event hosted by the Albany Athletics will be staged for the 21st time, making it the longest running summer invitational tournament for 17-year-olds and up in the northeast. Competition was put on hold last summer due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re excited to get it going again,” said Albany Athletics coach and tournament founder and director Joe Altieri. “Not only is it extra baseball for these teams, but it’s an opportunity for us to put something toward a good cause.”
For the eighth year, the tournament will be an official Coaches vs. Cancer benefit, with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.
“We are excited to once again partner with the Albany Athletics for this great baseball event that will bring cancer awareness to the forefront. We are grateful to all the teams for helping us finish the fight,” Jeffrey Winters, Senior Marketing Manager for the Capital Region of the American Cancer Society, said in a press release. “Their contributions will help support the cancer fighting efforts in our local communities as well as deliver a great message to the fans and supporters of the Baseball Fest.”
The Albany Athletics (14-0-1) of the Twilight League will be joined in the tournament by a pair of newcomers in the Copper City Blazers (6-0) of the Interstate Collegiate League and the King Sports Monarchs (4-1) of the Eastern New York Prep Baseball League. The South Troy Dodgers18U Elite of the Atlantic Coach Elite League will be back for the fourth time, the Twin Town Devilcats (4-8) of the Albany Twilight League will make their fifth tourney appearance, and the Albany Thunder (8-3) of the Twilight League will make their 11th appearance.
Over 40 different teams have competed in the tournament since its inception in 2000.
“We’ve got a good group of teams,” Altieri said. “The Copper City team is very capable. The South Troy Dodgers always have kids going Division I on their roster. The Albany Thunder is on our tail in the Twilight League. That’s just three of them.”
Games will be played at all three fields in Central Park. Three round-robin games will be played Friday and six more Saturday. The top four teams advance to Sunday’s morning semifinals, and the championship game will follow.
The Albany Athletics have won the tournament title 12 times including first-place showings in 2019 and 2018.
“This is always a big tournament for us,” Altieri said. “We get out of our league and get to test ourselves.”
The tournament participants could benefit later in the summer should they advance to one of the regional events or world series’ that are open to 17-and-up teams.
“You can play as many as five games in three days,” Altieri said. “This is a good way to prepare for one of the later tournaments.”
6 p.m. games — A: Albany Athletics vs. Copper City Blazers. B: Twin Town Devilcats vs. King Sports Monarchs. C: Albany Thunder vs. South Troy Dodgers.
Saturday (11 a.m.)
11 a.m. games — A: King Sports Monarchs vs. Albany Athletics. B: Copper City Blazers vs. Albany Thunder. C: Twin Town Devilcats vs. South Troy Dodgers. 1:30 p.m. games — A: Albany Athletics vs. South Troy Dodgers. B: King Sports Monarchs vs. Albany Thunder. C: Twin Town Devilcats vs. Copper City Blazers.
10 a.m. games — A and C: Semifinals. 1 p.m. game — A: Championship.
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