OTTUMWA — With a brand new board in place overseeing Babe Ruth baseball in the city of Ottumwa this year, it appeared unlikely that the City of Bridges would be selected as the host for a state tournament in 2019.

Ottumwa wasn't selected for one state tournament. They were selected for three.

The Iowa State Babe Ruth 13, 14 and 15-year-old championships will be decided with a trio of double-elimination tournaments that will be held Wednesday through Sunday at the Ottumwa Babe Ruth baseball complex. Ottumwa will have teams competing for the 13 and 15-year-old titles, starting with the 13-year-old team that will face Davis County in a best-of-three series that kicks off the five days of tournament action tonight with game one at 7 p.m.

"I don't know if they've ever done this where one town has hosted all three state tournaments," said Dani Grace, the board's secretary and player agent.

Grace is one of the few holdovers from the previous board, which features a new president in Tim Ash who will also serve this weekend as the manager of the Ottumwa 13-year-old Babe Ruth squad. Gary Doud serves as the vice president, Lindsay Hubbell serves as treasurer, Vicki Frazier is in charge of fundraising and concessions, Tony Paris is the coaches' coordinator and Neil Hartz is in charge of umpires serving as crew chief.

"When we talked to the state officials at the beginning of the season, we were told we wouldn't even have an opportunity to host a tournament. We needed to get things going as a new board first," Doud said. "When they came down later in the year and saw how we were running things, we ended it up with all three. We must doing some good things down here."

Ottumwa and Davis County could decide the 13-year-old Babe Ruth state title before either the 14 or 15-year-old tournament even begins. Game two between the teams will be Thursday night at 7 p.m. Should either Ottumwa or Davis County win both Wednesday and Thursday night, the championship will be decided.

If there is a split between Ottumwa and Davis County, the weekend gets even busier. The 15-year-old double-elimination tournament gets underway Friday with Ottumwa face Mount Pleasant at 6 p.m. After opening ceremonies are held between games, Rathbun Area will face Davis County in the second game of the 15-year-old tournament at 8:30 p.m.

Then comes the busiest two days of the tournament. Davenport joins the 15-year-old tournament on Saturday, playing the first of four straight 15-year-old tournament games at 9 a.m. The potential third and decisive game of the 13-year-old championship between Ottumwa and Davis County would be played as the fifth game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday will feature two games between the remaining three teams to decide the 15-year-old state title with a doubleheader starting at 9 a.m. Following the conclusion of 15-year-old tournament play, Rathbun Area and Grinnell will decide the 14-year-old championship in a best-two-of-three series that will be played consecutively on Sunday throughout the afternoon into the evening.

"Over the years, we've developed some pretty great rivalries among these teams," Doud said. "Our kids from Ottumwa have been battling the kids from Davis County and Rathbun Area throughout the past two of three years. Even going back to Little League play, these kids have been facing each in tournament play. It's been a lot of fun."

Ottumwa is not only the host for three state tournaments this weekend, but features a 15-year-old squad made up of players that have won state championships both as 13-year-olds and 14-year-olds. Last year, the Ottumwa 14-year-olds had to earn a pair of 4-3 wins on Sunday to claim the state title including a victory of Rathbun Area that prevented the Monroe County squad from playing for a state title. Many Rathbun Area players will be back looking for revenge in the 15-year-old bracket this weekend.

"We know those squads are gunning for us," said Grace, who's son Corbin had three hits and the save in the championship win over Newton last summer. "Those teams are coming here trying to prevent us for celebrating for a third straight year."

Scott Jackson can be reached at Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.


At Ottumwa Babe Ruth Diamonds


Wednesday, July 10

Ottumwa vs. Davis County, 7 p.m.

Thursday, July 11

Ottumwa vs. Davis County, 7 p.m.

Saturday, July 13

(If necessary) Ottumwa vs. Davis County, 7:30 p.m.


Sunday, July 14

Rathbun Area vs. Grinnell, 2 p.m.

Rathbun Area vs. Grinnell, 4:30 p.m.

(If necessary) Rathbun Area vs. Grinnell, 7 p.m.


Friday, July 12

(Game 1) Ottumwa vs. Mount Pleasant, 6 p.m.

(Game 2) Rathbun Area vs. Davis County, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 13

(Game 3) Davenport vs. Game 2 winner, 9 a.m.

(Game 4) Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 11:30 a.m.

(Game 5) Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 winner, 2 p.m.

(Game 6) Game 1 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 4:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 14

(Game 7) Game 6 loser vs. Game 5 winner, 9 a.m.

(Game 8) Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 11:30 a.m.


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