David Clark Memorial Tourney Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

July 14, 2010 —

By Bill Mullaly

The 10th annual David Clark Memorial Youth Baseball Tournament is set to begin this week on Wednesday and will run all the way through the weekend. The tournament began in 2001 in Hudson to honor the memory of local youth Pony League baseball player David Clark, son of Watson and JoAnn Clark. David passed away from an eight-month battle with leukemia. He fought a courageous battle and this tournament is played each summer in July to keep alive his memory. Watson and JoAnn will be at many of the games as they enjoy getting to know the opposing players. They also welcome the teams to the tournament each July. Here is a closer look at the annual DCM (David Clark Memorial) as year ten is underway.

The Tough Ten

After having an off the charts 24 teams in 2009 the DCM has returned to its roots. Last year we used five fields in four different cities (Hudson, Adrian, Hillsdale and Concord) to accommodate all the teams but this year just ten teams signed up to participate. This number matches the total in the first year back in 2001 and also was the total we had in 2008. The DCM set a record a year ago but there was no real explanation for it. This summer the “Five Days in July” will take place only in Hudson where the tournament is centered. The games will begin on Wednesday, July 14th when Watson throws out the ceremonial first pitch again this summer. He always returns on Sunday to throw out the first pitch in the championship game.

In 2010 a Hudson team will participate and coaches Eric Nelson and Leo Scoby bring in a team with a record of 10-2. They have competed this summer in a 14 and under league in Lenawee County but now they will have to step it up a notch as they take on teams from around the area and down south into Ohio. The Hudson team feels it is ready for the task at hand taking on some tough competition. “We will be ready to go and we plan to battle with every opponent,” said Coach Nelson.

Hudson is bracketed in the Orange pool playing four games against teams in its five-team pool. They open play on Thursday night at 7:00 at the high school diamond against tournament favorite the Maxton (Ohio) Bulldogs from the northwest Ohio area. Hudson returns to action on Friday at 5:00 also at the high school as they play Jackson Western. Then on Saturday they play their final two pool games starting at 10:00 in the morning as they take on Columbia Central at the high school. At 4:00 they will host Homer in a game at Will Carleton Park. Thus, the five teams in the Orange pool are the Hudson Tigers, Homer Trojans, Columbia Central Golden Eagles, Jackson Western Panthers and Maxton (Ohio) Bulldogs. In the opposite Black pool are the teams of the Lansing Moose, Saline Blackhawks, Adrian’s Sunnyside Sluggers, Wauseon (Ohio) Indians and the Battle Creek Lakeview Spartans.

Play begins on Wednesday evening at 5:00 at Will Carleton Park and will continue each night at the park starting at 5:00 with the last game each night through Friday starting at 9:00. There is one game at the high school on Thursday and two games there on Friday. On Saturday games at both sites begin at 10:00 AM and will go every two hours. The playoffs will begin on Saturday evening at 6:30 with quarterfinal action taking place at both fields. On Sunday the field will be cut down to four teams with action starting at 11:00 and 1:00 with the two semifinal games. The championship game will be played at 3:15. All of the games Sunday are at Will Carleton Park. (See the complete schedule in this edition of the Post-Gazette).

The DCM is about playing ball and in five days 25 games will be played with 17 at Will Carleton Park and the other eight will be played at the high school diamond. The DCM is a throwback tournament where the focus is on playing baseball. Competition is what tournament co-directors Bruce Morse and Bill Mullaly are looking for. “This tournament was started in 1997 to get the local boys are few more games of summer baseball,” said Morse, a former long-time youth baseball coach in Hudson as he had three sons who played baseball in the local Little League and Pony Leagues. “We will take any team that wants to play ball. This is not a qualifying tournament but just an event for teams to get more games. David was all about playing ball and competing and that is the focus and theme of this tournament.”

Morse took the annual tournament called the Hudson Pony League tournament and re-named it the David Clark Memorial for the 2001 event and the tournament has grown in popularity ever since.

Tournament history

The championship in 2009 saw the Michigan Crush repeat as champions at least under the same team name with many of the same players on hand from its 2008 title. The 2008-09 titles resulted in the first back-to-back champions in the tournament’s history. Back in 2006 the Pioneer Legion won it all and the year before in 2005 it was the Ohio Heat with many of the same kids participating. Back in 2005 the Grand Ledge Gold team won and the year before that in 2004 it was an area team from Grass Lake that took home the crown. Of the 12 players on that Grass Lake winning team 10 of them played four years later in 2008 as Grass Lake won the division 3 state title in the MHSAA tournament.

In 2003 Napoleon won the event and with that title brought some irony to the tournament. A Napoleon player had a relative who was in the same Ann Arbor hospital’s cancer ward as David Clark back in 2001. Unfortunately, both cancer patients lost their lives to the dreaded disease. The Napoleon player was Todd Anderson, a 2007 graduate of Napoleon, and a standout baseball-football player. He plays football now at Michigan State University and is expected to see plenty of action as a red-shirt junior with two years of eligibility remaining. He plays defensive end/outside linebacker for the Spartans.

Another famous alumnus of the DCM is a 2002 participant on the championship Adrian Angels team. Stevie Threet played for the Angels coached by Kevin Ohrman. Later to be known as Steven Threet he went on to play football for the University of Michigan after transferring from Georgia Tech. After a less than stellar season at Michigan in the fall of 2008 Threet took his show on the road to Arizona State University where is a red-shirt junior with two years of playing time left. He hopes to win the starting quarterback spot for the Sun Devils this fall.

Also, from the 2002 Angels team were the Ohrman brothers of Brad and Brent. Brad plays football for Eastern Michigan University now and Brent plays baseball for the Eagles of the Mid-American Conference.

In 2007 and 2008 the son of Michigan head baseball coach Rich Maloney participated in the DCM. The Wolverine head coach was down here to watch a few of his son’s games. In the first year of the tournament in 2001 it was a champion with a local flavor as head coach Greg Bailey had a team called the Michigan A’’. His son, Harry, along with Landon Shaffer and Anthony Carr played for the title team with a Hudson connection. With nine tournament champions in the books the tenth annual DCM champion is just days away from being crowned.

Other tournament tidbits

The DCM is fortunate to have official tournament sponsors in C R Motor Sales and Tim Zacharias. County National Bank and Ron Haber have contributed to the event for several years now. Hardy-Reed Tool & Die with Bruce Isenhower have been another dependable sponsor of the event. Morse works for United Grinding Technologies out of Viginia and they have been a sponsor for many years. The Tee Shirt Wizard operated by Lonnie Tompkins prints up the official tournament T-shirt for the workers, helpers and sponsors. Shirley Knapp of Countryside Trophies will again provide the team awards.

The tournament has its usual crew of umpires back with Pat McCabe, Pat Morse, Dan Laws, Dale McFaul and Rick Lee ready for another year of calling balls and strikes.

Johnny Everhart, Morse’s step-son, will be back from Virginia to help and he has done everything over the years from chase balls, to fix up the fields and to play a few games in this tournament.

The 2010 edition of the DCM is set to go with its usual wonderful, sunny and hot weather expected again this weekend. If it does rain it is according to Watson that David is just shedding a few tears to water down the ball fields. Get on out to the annual DCM and watch the local youngsters and nearby boys play the grand old game of baseball. It is summertime and that means baseball in Hudson for the annual DCM.