Madras hosting All-Star tournament
Madras will be hosting the District 5 All-Star Tournament, starting with opening ceremonies June 21, at the Madras High School football stadium, with the tournament beginning the following day at Juniper Hills Park.
The first game will start June 22, with more than 40 teams everywhere from John Day and Hood River to Sisters and La Pine.
Not only will Jefferson County Little League be able to show off the amazing fields and hard work they put in for the tournament, but several new attractions will be ready, as well.
A new snack shack, handicapped-accessible trails, restroom facilities and picnic pavilions are currently being built near the baseball fields, thanks to a grant the past JCLL board obtained.
"In addition to the All-Star Tournament concession stands, food vendors, barbecue and possibly a small weekend market, the JCLL board is working on putting together at the park, we are extremely excited to have the Madras Aquatic Center and the Bean Foundation providing a kid activity center that will be located in the soccer fields at Juniper Hills," said president of JCLL Stacy Lacey.
"The Bean Foundation has financially sponsored the area, which is planned to have water slides, bounce houses a dunk tank and more and the Madras Aquatic Center and Kids Club will be providing staffing for the area," she said.
"Hosting the District 5 All-Star Tournament is very exciting for Jefferson County Little League and we thank all of the volunteers and organizations that are helping us insure it is a success for our community," said Lacey. "We cannot thank the city, county, contractors and everyone who has been involved in making the project a success enough. The construction of the new concession and restroom facility is set to be in use for the District 5 All-Star Tournament that kicks off with opening ceremonies."
Jefferson County Little League had to fight through a cold, snowy start in March and continued rain throughout the season this year. Despite the obstacles, they had 250 players register, allowing for two junior, one major, and two minor softball teams, as well as one junior, two major, two minor, baseball teams. There were also three coed rookie teams and seven T-ball teams.
"Our team sponsors and businesses who continually support JCLL with yearly sponsorships are amazing," Lacey said. "This year's sponsorship funds not only provided uniforms for our teams and our annual costs of insurance and fees, but new team gear for all 20 teams."
Jefferson County Little League is a volunteer, nonprofit organization, which has seven board members. Stacy Lacey (president), Rhian Silbernagel (player agent), Katie Boyle (treasurer), Rod Lacey (equipment and safety officer), Brett Whipple (umpire in charge), Will O'Daniel (officer at large) and Julie Mitchell (secretary) all work hard to make sure everything is ready for the baseball/softball season.
"We have over 50 volunteer coaches working with our 20 teams and a volunteer umpire program consisting of quite a few amazing parents and three main umpires, who by the end of the season will have umpired close to 50 games between the three of them," said Lacey. "All together, JCLL will have hosted 75 interleague games this season, offering an amazing facility to our neighboring leagues to play."
"We never get anything but praise over the Juniper Hills baseball and softball facility from our neighboring leagues who travel here to Madras to play," she said. "Jefferson County played other teams within our district, including La Pine, Sisters, Redmond, Bend, Prineville and Warm Springs."
The board put in hard work making sure the field were not only ready for this year's season, but remained well-maintained for All-Stars.
"Having the field groomer that the past board was able to purchase with the funds they made with the solar eclipse event at Juniper Hills has been a true blessing," Lacey said. "Keeping all of the seven fields prepped and ready to play has been a challenge for our JCLL equipment manager, but he has done an outstanding job. Having fields that can host both baseball and softball games has been wonderful, as we have been able to host up to seven games a night on occasion this season."
Little League understands the value of teaching the players to give back to their community and allows one player fundraiser per season. This year, the players chose to participate in a Hit-a-thon that raised more than $8,000 for the organization. The funds will be used to continue to replace old equipment and add improvements to the Juniper Hills Park fields.