Officials optimistic games will go on

Even with the threat of bad weather over the next 24 hours, the Pizza Hut Hillbilly Hardball Classic is scheduled to begin today at fields around the area.

Post 29 manager and tournament director Chris George said he’s hopeful a majority of the games can still take place even if today’s action is postponed.

“The weather is something I’ve been keeping an eye on since Monday,” George said. “If the weather cooperates Friday through Sunday, we should still be able to keep the tournament schedule intact and have a championship game on Sunday.

“Hopefully that’s the worst case scenario and we can have games (today).”

The annual event attracts the best teams from West Virginia, along with squads from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

“We always have a very competitive field, and this year is no different,” George said. “The best talent from West Virginia will be here and there are talented teams from the other states as well.”

One of the featured matchups of the event will take place at 9:30 p.m. today at Robin Harvey Memorial Field as the defending Ohio state champions Pickerington Post 283 will clash with West Virginia state champion Elkins Post 29.

“We’re looking forward to that game,” George said. “To have two defending state champions battling one another is exciting and a challenge for our team.”

The remainder of teams competing include West?Virginia squads Buckhannon Post 7, Morgantown Post 2, Jefferson County, Potomac Valley Junior Legion, Weirton Post 10, Bridgeport Junior Legion, Sissonville, Fairmont Junior Legion, Preston County Post 56, South Charleston Post 94, Potomac Valley Post 64, St. Marys Post 79, Moundsville Post 3, Romney Post 91, Beckley Post 32, Bridgeport MVB, Wheeling Post 1, Fairmont Post 17, Charleston Power and the Harrison County Patriots.

Pennsylvania representatives are Bellefonte Post 33, French Creek Valley, State College Post 245 and Beech Creek.

Traditional tourney participant Cumberland Post 13 also returns and will be joined by fellow Maryland squad Grantsville.

Ohio teams competing include Licking County, Prospect and Utica.

Beech Creek and Licking County are tournament newcomers.

Teams are placed in five different divisions and games, along with Robin Harvey Memorial Field, will be played at Elkins High School, Tygarts Valley High School, Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Philip Barbour High School and Bridgeport High School.

“We’re able to bring in so many teams because of the availability of fields in the area,” George said. “Plus teams like coming to the tournament and competing.”

George added the event could not be possible without the many volunteers.

“It’s because of them we can hold this great baseball showcase,” he said. “They put in a lot of time and effort and their hard work is greatly appreciated.”