Slow-pitch softball teams from all over the Northwest gathered at St. Regis Community Park Saturday and Sunday for the annual Fourth of July Softball tournament.
Teams spent the weekend competing on Sansom field and Bennett field, the two baseball fields at the park. While some teams played, others waited for their games and watched from lawn chairs in the shade.
After the two-day tournament ended Sunday afternoon, the Loko Joe’s softball team finished with the championship trophy. Loko Joe’s beat the Geritol Drifters 17-6 in the championship game on Sansom field and won the first place trophy.
Loko Joe’s, who are mostly from Post Fall and Coeur d’Alene, have won the annual softball tournament three years in a row.
Although the team is mostly made up of North Idahoans, Loko Joe’s, a bar in St. Regis, sponsors the team. Aaron Fenter of the Loko Joe’s team lives in St. Regis and his grandfather owns the Loko Joe’s bar. Over the past few years, Fenter gathers his friends from North Idaho and competes in the tournament under the Loko Joe’s sponsorship.
The championship Loko Joe’s team was hard to miss during the tournament in their bright pink uniforms.
Geritol Drifters, who are from Troy and Libby, finished with the second place trophy. Garden Lounge, who are from Pullman, Moscow and Lewiston, earned the third place trophy.
Besides first, second and third place trophies, other awards were handed out at the end of the tournament. Doug’s Montana Bar, from Superior, earned the sportsmanship award.
After the championship game, T.J. Philp of Loko Joe’s won the MVP of the tournament. Philp’s teammate Jake Lenz won the Golden Glove award for his play in the field. The three umpires, who were hired from Missoula to work the tournament, picked the MVP and Golden Glove awards.
This year, 12 teams competed in the annual tournament. The teams that played are Schober’s Towing, O-Fers, Sunrise/XXL, No Big Deal. Dog House, Falls Club, Polla Oil, 2nd Generation Drifters, Doug’s Montana Bar, Garden Lounge, Geritol Drifters and Loko Joes.
The local teams from Mineral County are Schober’s Towing, Loko Joe’s, Dog House and Doug’s Montana Bar.
Each team that signed up to play in the annual tournament paid an entry fee and had a three game guarantee. Each game was seven innings long.
Event organizer Larry Kelly said it is important to make the tournament worth their while, especially since most the teams travel from out of town.
“People travel a long way to get here to have fun,” Kelly said. “And some teams come every year.”
The annual tournament has been going on for over 30 years, according to Kelly. Last year, 16 teams entered the tournament and Kelly said the tournament usually averages about 14 teams.
During the two-day tournament, teams filled the fields and supporters lined the bleachers. The park full of people made Kelly wonder why the fields are not used more often. Besides the annual tournament, the baseball fields are hardly ever used.
“I’m hoping to put another one on,” Kelly said of using the park and adding another tournament.