State legion tourney to return to the War

By on July 31, 2019

The Pennsylvania State American Legion Baseball Tournament, as well as the Region Four Tourney, are headed back to Ephrata’s War Memorial Field.

Local Post 429 made the following announcement Monday morning on Twitter:

“BIG ANNOUNCEMENT TIME!! We will be hosting the @palegionball State Tournament again in 2021! We have also been selected as hosts for the Regional Tournament again next summer!

Lots of playoff baseball for our kids the next few years!”

Ephrata and War Memorial Field hosted States for the first time in 2017, and drew rave reviews. Not only were the crowds big throughout that tourney, players and coaches from all eight regions enjoyed the facility.

Ephrata Coach Derek Sipe hoists the PA Legion championship trophy after the Post 429ers won States as the host team of the tournament in 2017. Ephrata was recently selected to host States again in 2021.

“Everybody loved it,” Ephrata Coach Derek Sipe said of the artificial turf field. “I remember after the banquet the first night, we turned the lights on and let the other teams come over and look at it. All of them were kind of star struck being on a field that is like a college or professional-type field…something they’ve never played on before. The teams loved it and obviously from our perspective we enjoy playing on our home field and on our own turf and the advantage that brings to us as well.”

Most importantly, the facility and the way the 2017 tournament was run impressed the PA Board of Directors, who this time reached out to Sipe to see if they could bring it back to the War in 2021.

“The playing facility is terrific,” PA American Legion Activities Director John Weist told the Review prior to the 2017 tourney. “With the upgrades to the field, it makes it one of the premier facilities in the state.”

Sipe agreed.

“I think our field obviously speaks for itself and alleviates a lot of potential issues with that type of tournament when you are trying to play 15 games in five days,” Sipe said. “You never know what you are going to get weather-wise, and with our turf facility we kind of alleviate all those types of problems. Another thing is, when we did it (in 2017) the town really showed up as far as the volunteers, the fans and the parents…just everybody coming together to get big crowds for all of the games throughout the State Tournament. The third piece of it is obviously the financial side of it. I think they were impressed with how well we did with that, not only from admissions but how well the community stepped up and supported us.”

To add icing to the cake in 2017, Ephrata went on to capture its first State title in program history and advanced to National Regionals for the second time.

While there were nerves felt back in 2017, preparing to put on such a big, important tournament, Sipe is confident that his organization, War Memorial and the community can host another successful event in 2021.

“Now we know going forward that it’s not something we need to be all that nervous about,” he said. “We’ve shown that we are able to do it.”

Ephrata, which hosted the recent Region Four Tournament, have been granted hosts of that tournament again at War Memorial next season.

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