Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Youth Baseball: Nations Baseball Memorial Day Tournament

My son's baseball team participated in the Nations Baseball Memorial Day Weekend Invitational U13 baseball tournament this past weekend. It was a really well run tournament at a great baseball facility. This post provides tips and tricks for the event.

The Facility

The Tournament was held at The Summit of Softball / Baseball complex which is amazing. It is a beautiful complex that sits on a big hill next to the retired Summit Landfill. (There is no odor at all and it was hot.) The complex consists of eight adult softball fields. The infields were made from crushed bricks that have been laser graded to optimize playing conditions. The fences are unmarked but I would guess that the fences were 300' from home plate to all fields.

Tip 1 - Bring detergent and stain remover to wash the uniforms. The crushed red brick infields leave red stains on the uniforms. Find a hotel that has a laundry facility.

Tip 2 - There is a sign that prohibits bringing in coolers and outside drinks, but it was not enforced during the tournament and lots of people ignored the sign. There is a Walmart less than 2 miles away to load up on Gatorade. We bought PowerAde at the concession stand. ($2 / bottle)

Tip 3 - The complex has a pretty good concession stand that serves Hot Dogs and Hamburgers to feed the athletes between games.

Tip 4 - Park far away from the fields. Lots of cars got pounded. Fast pitchers tend to induce lots of foul balls.

Tip 5 - The crushed brick looks great, but it is a little rough on knees, elbows and forearms when sliding and diving. Neosporin came in handy.

The Competition

This tournament attracted some really strong baseball teams from a 400 mile radius. Our team traveled the farthest. The only disappointment of the event was that only 5 teams competed. We heard that one super team from Texas cancelled out at the last minute. This caused some other super teams to opt out too. That probably worked out well for our team. Regardless, the remaining teams were strong baseball clubs and made our team looked like a bunch of 7th graders playing against high school teams. I have never seen so many 6' 2" 210 pound 13 year olds in my life. 

Our team was outclassed in the tournament although we did beat the eventual tournament championship team from Alabama. 

Tip 5 If your team is not an elite team - look for another tournament.


We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Ooitewah, TN this hotel is very close to the Summit Softball / Baseball complex. It was clean, comfortable and affordable. It had a laundry facility and a decent hot breakfast. It is very close to the Walmart. The one draw back is that there are not many nice restaurants in close proximity, unless of course you think Hardees and Crakerbarrel are nice. There is Holiday Inn Express right next to the Hampton Inn which is very comparable. Check this link for other hotels in the area.


Here is a link to restaurants in the area. My son and I drove south about 7 miles to the Shallowford exit. There is a mall there. We found a McAllisters Deli one night and a Smokey Bones BBQ place another night. This link provides a list of other restaurants in the area.


My son and I played golf on Friday morning before the tournament started. We played on a nice course about 80 miles north of Chattanooga (south of Knoxville) call Avalon Landmark Golf Club. This is a good place to play especially if you are traveling from the north. 
Beautiful Public Golf Course in Mountains of East Tenn
The Main Point

I love traveling to new places with my kids to participate in a youth sports events. Memorable events like these bring us closer together. This Nations Baseball tournament was very well run. The Summit Facility was great. My son's team did not fare well but they did beat the eventual tournament champions 9-6 in pool play. When we got home we learned that the head coach of the Championship team nominated my son to the All Tournament Team. A total of 13 players from the five participating teams were so honored. I am a proud dad.

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