The 27th Jason Armstrong Memorial Baseball Tournament kicks off today at Paterson Field, bringing in 20 teams for 28 games over a 10-day period.
The tournament opens today with a game between Montgomery Academy and Highland Home, then takes a three-day break as many of the area teams had already scheduled rivalry games for this weekend. It resumes on Monday with three games and continues through the weekend with games at both Riverwalk Stadium and Paterson Field, the two sites that annually host the Alabama High School Athletic Association baseball finals.
“They finally figured this out,” Trinity coach Ken Whittle said. “They get to go to Paterson Field and to Riverwalk (Stadium), where they hope to be down the road. They get to familiarize themselves with that, which I think is very smart.”
The tournament will always hold a special place in the hearts of Whittle and the Wildcats, who originally came up with the idea of hosting a tournament in Armstrong’s honor before it was adopted by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and moved to larger downtown stadiums.
“He’s one of our former players,” Whittle said. “Dr. Armstrong helped build this (home) field because of Jason. We just enjoy playing in this tournament. It’s fun for us, playing somebody different, somebody we haven’t played before.”
Among the participants are defending 3A state champion Providence Christian; Trinity and LAMP, a pair of teams that reached the 4A quarterfinals last year; Wilson, which reached the second round of the 4A playoffs; Thorsby, who made it to the semifinals of the 2A playoffs; Luverne, which reached the second round of the 2A playoffs; St. James and Montgomery Academy, both of which advanced to the second round of the 3A playoffs; Billingsley, which advanced to the second round of the 1A playoffs; and Marbury, who made a 5A playoff appearance last season.
While the tournament does offer an opportunity to play a number of games – Trinity, for example, will play four in a five-day span next week – it does not crown a champion.
“That’s not what it’s about,” Whittle said. “It’s about us playing.”
27th FCA JASON ARMSTRONG MEMORIAL BASEBALL TOURNAMENT
Montgomery Academy vs. Highland Home, Paterson Field, 4 p.m.
Brew Tech vs. Montgomery Academy, Riverwalk Stadium, 3 p.m.
Marbury vs. Catholic, Paterson Field, 4 p.m.
Tallassee vs. St. James, Riverwalk Stadium, 5 p.m.
Tallassee vs. Trinity, Riverwalk Stadium, 4 p.m.
Luverne vs. Alabama Christian, Paterson Field, 4 p.m.
LAMP vs. Pike Road, Riverwalk Stadium, 6 p.m.
G.W. Carver vs. Elmore County, Paterson Field, 6 p.m.
Marbury vs. G.W. Carver, Riverwalk Stadium, 3 p.m.
Catholic vs. Tallassee, Paterson Field, 4 p.m.
Jeff Davis vs. Elmore County, Riverwalk Stadium, 5 p.m.
Prattville Christian Academy vs. Trinity, Riverwalk Stadium, 2 p.m.
Luverne vs. Catholic, Riverwalk Stadium, 4 p.m.
Elmore County vs. Brew Tech, Paterson Field, 4 p.m.
Providence Christian vs. Alabama Christian, Riverwalk Stadium, 6 p.m.
Wilson vs. LAMP, Paterson Field, 6 p.m.
Providence Christian vs. Wilson, Riverwalk Stadium, 11 a.m.
Catholic vs. Wilson, Riverwalk Stadium, 2 p.m.
Trinity vs. Providence Christian, Paterson Field, 2 p.m.
Thorsby vs. LAMP, Riverwalk Stadium, 4 p.m.
Billingsley vs. Brew Tech, Paterson Field, 4 p.m.
Pike Road vs. Alabama Christian, Riverwalk Stadium, 6 p.m.
Jeff Davis vs. Prattville Christian, Paterson Field, 6 p.m.
Thorsby vs. Trinity, Riverwalk Stadium, 10 a.m.
Alabama Christian vs. Wilson, Paterson Field, 10 a.m.
Billingsley vs. Pike Road, Riverwalk Stadium, noon
Luverne vs. LAMP, Paterson Field, noon
Billingsley vs. Prattville Christian, Riverwalk Stadium, 2 p.m.