Annual Carlton Little League tournament turns in another ‘hit’The proverbial celebration for a championship Little League team usually includes many high-fives, perhaps a dog pile and, surely, family photos with the trophy afterward. All that happens during the Carlton Daze Little League tournament – followed by a dip in Chub Lake.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
The proverbial celebration for a championship Little League team usually includes many high-fives, perhaps a dog pile and, surely, family photos with the trophy afterward. All that happens during the Carlton Daze Little League tournament – followed by a dip in Chub Lake.
“As soon as they’re done, a lot of kids just go jump right in,” said tournament director Ryan Schmidt about the fun tradition over the years. “It was another hot one. And it makes for a lot of memories.”
Schmidt, who has been the Carlton High School baseball coach for three years and was recently named the school’s new activities director, has been the driving force for those memories.
The 37-year-old said last week’s 10-and-Under All-Star Little League tournament was the 12th year of the event. A total of 13 teams played Friday evening throughout Sunday afternoon without a hiccup.
“It was the most teams we’ve ever had,” said Schmidt, who expanded the tournament from its usual 12-team format. “I tweaked the schedule a bit and was able to get another team in there. We just want the kids to play ball, have fun and make some memories together. That’s what we’re aiming for with all of this.”
Schmidt said he spent 12 hours at Chub Lake Park on Saturday, 11 more hours on Sunday, plus a round of games on Friday night. He explained all three diamonds were running, while the concession stand, umpires and field workers all did their part.
“On Saturday morning, we had home plate come up on a field so we had to go get the varsity one,” Schmidt said. “We got to work on it and we were good to go. It was just a good team effort by everyone who was up here.”
According to Schmidt, the competition in the tournament was wide-ranged, as some teams looked like seasoned veterans, while others learned and improved along the way. That mix of talent is common.
“It really varies,” Schmidt said. “Some teams come in here after traveling all summer. Other teams are here to get some extra ball in and get better through the weekend. The event has grown each year.”
Noting the event began with just three teams in its inaugural tournament in 2001, Schmidt said that last weekend was another success. He said every summer it’s something they look forward to.
“A lot of people were up here,” Schmidt said, noting how much support the event gets from the community “It’s kind of a big deal for us.”
Schmidt said the Superior-based Four Corners Little League won the tournament with ease, defeating Duluth Eastern in Sunday’s championship game. He added that Four Corners dominated from the get-go, while a different Superior team took third and Duluth Central fourth in a deep field of teams.
Winning the championship or not, all teams welcomed a dip into the lake afterward. Again, fun was the weekend’s top priority.
“That’s what makes this all worth it,” Schmidt said. “It’s a weekend of fun, for the kids.”