JOPLIN — Because of a dramatic drop in the number of entries, Premier Baseball will not be using Crowder College or Seneca High School for its upcoming Junior Championship tournament.
As of Monday, July 9, there were only 29 teams in the field for the event, which will be played Wednesday, July 17 through Sunday, July 21.
Because of that, only six fields will be used instead of as many as 16 scattered around the tri-state area in the past.
Joe Becker Stadium, Wendell Redden Field, Warren Turner Field at Missouri Southern and Joplin High School, as well as JayCee Ballpark and Al Ortolani Field at Pittsburg State, will be the host facilities with Joe Becker the host for the championship game.
In the past, Joe Pollock Field, Homa Thomas Field at Northeastern A&M, Mickey Mantle Field at Commerce, Oklahoma, the Field of Dreams at Baxter Springs, Kansas, Carl Junction High School, and Crowder and SHS were utilized, since the tournament had as many as 64 teams.
The tentative entry list has 10 teams from Missouri, 10 from Texas, three from Colorado, two each from Oklahoma and Arizona, and one each from Nebraska, Arizona and Ontario, Canada.
The South Texas Sliders Mayer won the tournament championship last summer, winning their first title since 2015 with a 8-0 victory over Houston Kyle Chapman. The Sliders went 9-0 through the tournament and honored their deceased coach and founder, Scott Mayer, who passed away in May, just a couple months before the Premier Junior Championship.
This will be the 15th year Premier has held a tournament in Joplin. Last weekend, for the first time, it hosted Premier’s 13-under Championship. The organization also has staged an incoming freshman championship in Joplin.
In recent years, MLB first round draft picks Forrest Whitley (Houston Astros, 2016) and Jarred Kelenic (New York Mets, 2018) pitched on championship Sunday at Joe Becker. Whitley and Kelenic both helped their respective teams earn Premier Junior Championship titles.