The third edition of the Hooper Showcase Summer Baseball Tournament, which begins on Friday at Grant Complex, promises to be bigger and better than ever.
McPherson High baseball coach Heath Gerstner has assembled by far the best field in the event’s brief history. It is named for the late Bob Hooper, a longtime McPherson High and American Legion baseball supporter.
“I started planning this tournament back in November and I’m really excited about this year's Hooper Showcase,” Gerstner said. “The Legion board has been great in offering help and the Chamber has offered its assistance.”
What separates this year’s tournament from past events is the quantity and quality of teams.
“Having 16 teams is an awesome number and we’re excited to host some great baseball, including multiple 2015 KSHSAA state tournament teams and some showcase teams that are made of committed baseball players,” Gerstner said.
All the teams are guaranteed a minimum of four games. There are two days of pool play before a single-elimination bracket is played out on Sunday.
Post 24, coming off a pair of numbing losses to arch-rival Salina on Tuesday, could at some point get another crack at the Falcons, who are among the teams in the field. Gerstner believes some of McPherson’s rivals during the high school season could ramp up the intensity for the event.
“This has been a weekend the older guys have had circled on the calendar for quite some time,” Gerstner said. “The guys are excited to play the likes of Salina, Buhler, Hutch, Newton, El Dorado and even Ark City. All teams have good coaches who possess strong teams and our guys want to always play good baseball at home.”
McPherson’s first game is at 8 p.m. Friday against the Kansas Indians. Post 24 then plays at 3 p.m. Saturday against Concordia before returning to the diamond at 7:00 to take on the Kansas Green Cannons.
Gerstner is hoping this year’s improved tournament is just the beginning.
“We definitely want to make this an annual event and potentially even add more teams in the future,” he said. “I want the teams in the field to attract college coaches and hopefully in turn see area schools continue to improve in baseball.”
Friday’s play starts at 2 p.m. with games on the two diamonds at Grant. Games start every two hours until the finales at 8:00.
Saturday kicks off at 9 a.m., with games every two hours until the last games at 7. There actually are five games being played at Light Capital Diamond starting at 11 a.m., so games won’t drag deep into Saturday night.
The bracket tournament begins at 10 a.m., with the championship game eventually wrapping things up at 6 p.m.
Fans are encouraged to come out and support the tournament as well as watch some future college standouts.