Strong field set for amateur tourneySome of top amateur teams in the state, and a couple from out-of-state, will be in town this weekend. The Jamestown Elks and Jamestown Tarnos kick off the 3rd Annual Dale “Gopher” Lien Memorial Tournament at Jack Brown Stadium tonight, the first of six pool play games on Friday and Saturday. Tournament organizer, and manager of the Jamestown Merchants Bryan Erstad, expects a competitive event.
Some of top amateur teams in the state, and a couple from out-of-state, will be in town this weekend.
The Jamestown Elks and Jamestown Tarnos kick off the 3rd Annual Dale “Gopher” Lien Memorial Tournament at Jack Brown Stadium tonight, the first of six pool play games on Friday and Saturday.
Tournament organizer, and manager of the Jamestown Merchants Bryan Erstad, expects a competitive event.
“It should be a good weekend,” Erstad said. “We appreciate the teams that are coming and the help we get from everybody to put the tournament on.”
Joining the three Jamestown teams are Mayville, Detroit Lakes and Groton, S.D. Detroit Lakes fields a strong team each year, while Groton is a team the Merchants have played in previous seasons.
The Merchants are 7-6 and continue to rely on their three pillars — Erstad and Jared Purdy at the plate — both former Blue Jays — and Greg Lunski on the mound.
“We’re not quite as consistent as we’ve been in the past, but we’re still capable of playing pretty well,” Erstad said.
As is the case with most amateur teams, cobbling together a lineup each night is a challenge and has led to some of their up and down play.
“We have 4-5 guys that we can count on to be there, but there’s usually some texting and calling before we play to make sure we’re going to have enough,” Erstad said.
The Elks, who have won the last two Class AAA state titles, are having the same issues. In fact, with a handful of their normal cast unavailable this weekend, they’ll primarily feature players from the Jamestown College JV. All-conference catcher Griffin Sweazey and pitcher Tony Fagan are expected to play, but it will be a lot of new faces otherwise.
“We haven’t had our full squad in about a month,” said Elks outfielder Nick Meehan, who is iffy with a gimpy knee. “Our normal 1-5 hitters aren’t going to be playing this weekend, so it’s going to be a new-look team for us.”
The Elks are 9-2 on the season, but dropped their only head-to-head meeting against the Merchants (4-3) on June 29 in Fargo.
“This tournament is going to be a true test for these younger guys to see what they can do,” Meehan said. “They’re going to be playing against good teams and good players.”
The tournament features just one game tonight, but gets busy Saturday with five games, starting at 10 a.m. The fifth, third and championship games will be played on Sunday.
“I think it’s going to be a pretty good tournament,” Erstad said. “With the types of teams that are coming, we should have some pretty good games.”
Dale “Gopher” Lien Memorial Tournament
At Jack Brown Stadium
Pool A: Jamestown Tarnos, Jamestown Elks, Groton (S.D.)
Pool B: Jamestown Merchants, Mayville Redcaps, Detroit Lakes (Minn.)
7 p.m.: Jamestown Elks vs. Jamestown Tarnos
10 a.m.: Groton vs. Jamestown Elks
12:15 p.m.: Groton vs. Jamestown Tarnos
2:30 p.m.: Detroit Lakes vs. Jamestown Merchants
4:45 p.m.: Mayville vs. Jamestown Merchants
7 p.m.: Mayville vs. Detroit Lakes
10 a.m.: Pool A No. 3 vs. Pool B No. 3 (fifth-place game)
Noon: Pool A No. 2 vs. Pool B No. 2 (third-place game)
2 p.m.: Pool A No. 1 vs. Pool B No. 1 (championship)
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com