Little League clinic highlights run-up to DIII Juco World Series

Macy Simmons (center), a senior at Lindale High School, and Taylor Burnett, a senior from Arp High School, pose with Sara Jo Murff on Tuesday at Mike Carter Field. Simmons and Burnett are the 2013 recipients of the Sara Jo Murff Scholarship. (Shannon Wilson | Tyler Morning Telegraph)

For the seventh straight year, Tyler and Mike Carter Field will host the NJCAA Division III World Series.

All the fun begins Thursday with a Little League Clinic. The games will start Saturday and continue through at least Wednesday, May 29, and possibly Thursday, May 30, in the double-elimination baseball tournament.

Eight teams from throughout the country will compete for the national championship. Tyler Junior College was hopeful of returning to the event, but the Apaches were beaten 7-5 on Sunday in the District C championship by Brookhaven College. Thus, the Bears of Farmers Branch will represent Texas in the Series for the first time.

Still, tournament officials said fans will enjoy the quality of baseball and the economic impact on the region.

“One aspect of this tournament — obviously we love the baseball aspect — but from the SPORTyler aspect of it and the (Tyler Area) Chamber (of Commerce) aspect of it, the formula shows this tournament earns roughly $250,000 for the city from hotel fees, restaurants and shopping,” Dr. Tim Drain, Tyler Junior College athletic director and tournament director, said Tuesday during a media session at Mike Carter Field.

“Our plea is if you are a baseball fan — we are asking for you to come out here for one day … one game … and invest that in the city and enjoy the family friendly baseball at the confines of Mike Carter Field and I promise you, you will come back. Tyler or no Tyler (Apaches baseball team), it is baseball and it is fun to watch.”

Also, the tournament awards the Sara Jo Murff Scholarship each year to either softball or baseball players who excel on the diamond as well as in the classroom, along with community service.

Mrs. Murff, widow of legendary baseball scout Red Murff, was on hand Tuesday to present the $750 scholarships to Arp High School’s Taylor Burnett and Lindale High School’s Macy Simmons.

The scholarships were sponsored this year by Hibbs Hallmark & Co. Insurance and Bank of Tyler.

Burnett was a multi-sport athlete at Arp, including softball, basketball, track, volleyball and power lifting. She is a member of the National Honor Society and had a 3.97 GPA. She is involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as well as Rachel’s Challenge, Ronald McDonald House and Maroonians.

Burnett, the daughter of Barry and Anna Burnett of Arp, will attend UT Tyler and pursue a nursing degree.

Simmons played softball and basketball at Lindale and maintained a 96.28 grade average. She was a three-year member of the all-district softball academic team and was involved in student council, band and Ready-Set-Teach.

Simmons, the daughter of Brian and Jan Simmons of Lindale, will first attend TJC and then pursue elementary education at UT Tyler.

The annual Little League Clinic is scheduled for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Mike Carter Field. The clinic is for Little Leaguers and their families. Drain said Little Leaguers can come individually or as a team. Players and coaches from each World Series entry will instruct the youngsters.

Joining Brookhaven at the tourney include: Niagara County Community College Thunderwolves, Sanborn, N.Y.; Waubonsee Community College Chiefs, Sugar Grove, Ill.; Montgomery College Raptors, Rockville, Md.; Century College Mighty Wood Ducks, White Bear Lake, Minn.; Nassau Community College Lions, Garden City, N.Y.; Gloucester County College Roadrunners, Sewell, N.J.; and Northern Essex Community College Knights, Haverhill, Mass.

The tourney begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with Niagara and Montgomery.

The featured game is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday with Brookhaven and Waubonsee. Before the game, there will be a flyover, the national anthem by up-and-coming singer Taylor Heard, the John Tyler ROTC Color Guard, and the first pitch by sponsors and TJC assistant athletic director Chuck Smith, who recently returned from another deployment in the Middle East.

Also, the U.S. Army will be making dog tags for the kids.

SERIES STUFF: Ticket prices are $20 (all-tournament pass), $5 (single day adult pass), $3 (single day pass students/children) and free (children 10 & under and any Little League player in uniform and military with proper ID). … Mike Carter Field is located at 1900 W. Houston St. … Tyler will host the tourney in 2014 and 2015 as well. … Tuesday will be Texas Educator Day at the park. Anyone who shows proper school ID will get in for $1.

NJCAA Division III World Series

Teams

District A — Niagara County Community College Thunderwolves, Sanborn, N.Y.

District B — Waubonsee Community College Chiefs, Sugar Grove, Ill.

District C — Brookhaven College Bears, Farmers Branch, Texas

District D — Montgomery College Raptors, Rockville, Md.

District E — Century College Mighty Wood Ducks, White Bear Lake, Minn.

District F — Nassau Community College Lions, Garden City, N.Y.

District G — Gloucester County College Roadrunners, Sewell, N.J.

District H — Northern Essex Community College Knights, Haverhill, Mass.

All Games at Mike Carter Field

Saturday, May 25

Game 1: Niagara (37-16) vs. Montgomery (40-15), 9 a.m.

Game 2: Century (38-11) vs. Gloucester (45-3), noon

Game 3: Waubonsee (36-22) vs. Brookhaven (31-18), 4 p.m.

Game 4: Nassau (19-16) vs. Northern Essex (18-14), 7 p.m.

Sunday, May 26

Game 5: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 9 a.m.

Game 6: Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, noon

Game 7: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 4 p.m.

Game 8: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 7 p.m.

Monday, May 27

Game 9: Loser Game 7 vs. Winner Game 6, noon

Game 10: Loser Game 8 vs. Winner Game 5, 4 p.m.

Game 11: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 28

Game 12: Winner Game 10 vs. Winner Game 9, 4 p.m.

Game 13: Winner Game 12 vs. Loser Game 11, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, May 29

Game 14: (Championship Game), Winner Game 11 vs. Winner Game 13, 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 30

Game 15: (If necessary) Winner Game 14 vs. Loser Game 14, 7 p.m.

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