High School Sports

Wheels tourney gets underway Wednesday

The Wheels Baseball Tournament begins a four-day run in Rock Hill on Wednesday.

The eleventh annual event will have ten teams in the field, which includes defending champion Faith Baptist from Georgia. This is the third year in the tournament for the defending champions.

“We went to a ten team field this year,” said tournament organizer Tim Hager of Rock Hill. “That gives us two divisions with five teams in each bracket.”

Games will be played on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at three locations in Rock Hill. The championship contest is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. at Northwestern High School.

“I always look forward to this time of the year,” said Hager, who along with several others started the tournament eleven years ago. “It has been a labor of love over the years for all of us.”

The tournament was started in memory of Larry Hinson, whose nickname was “Wheels”.

“He gave so much the baseball community here in Rock Hill,” said Hager. “This was our way of showing how much we appreciated what he for so many years.”

Each year the proceeds from the tournament go toward a scholarship for one player from each of the three high schools in Rock Hill.

The tournament which features Northwestern, Rock Hill, South Pointe, Fort Mill, and Nation Ford also has five teams from across the country in the field.

In addition to the five local teams and defending champion Faith Baptist, the four-day event features Midland Valley (Graniteville), Greater Cabarrus (Concord, N.C.), Oxford Hill (South Paris, Maine), and St. Vincent Pallotti (Laurel, Md.).

“We have never had a problem filling the field for the tournament,” said Hager. “It does not matter whether it is played during spring break or a regular week of school, we have to put teams on the waiting list. We filled up for this year’s tournament last August.”

In the ten previous tournaments the five area teams have done very well. They have won five of the tournaments in the past. Northwestern has three titles, while Rock Hill and Fort Mill have one each.

“This tournament always has outstanding teams, and this year is no exception,” said Hager. “Our local teams have done well, and this tournament gives them a chance to play against some outstanding competition.”

With the tournament falling during the spring break for some of the local teams you might think that enthusiasm for the event would be down.

“The coaches and players always look forward to this tournament no matter when it is held,” said Hager. “The schools have been all in this tournament from the very beginning.”

This tournament requires volunteers to get everything done, and the number of volunteers who take on various responsibilities is tremendous.

“We could not run this tournament without the volunteers,” said Hager. “They do everything from keeping the gate, fixing the field, scoring the games, running the scoreboards, and manning the concession stands.”

Ticket are available at each game site each day. A tournament pass which is good for all games in the entire tournament is $15. Individual day passes cost $5. Concession stands will be operating at each game site every game.

Every team will play the other four members of its pool. Some teams plays two games in one day, but every team is guaranteed at least four games for the tournament. Round robin pool play wraps up on Saturday morning.

The best team in each pool will play for the title on Saturday.

Tournament schedule

All game in p.m. unless noted

Wednesday

NORTHWESTERN HIGH

1 – Oxford Hill vs. Faith Baptist

4 – Fort Mill vs. Oxford Hill

7 – Northwestern vs. Midland Valley

ROCK HILL HIGH

6 – Rock Hill vs. Greater Cabarrus

SOUTH POINTE HIGH

6 – South Pointe vs. Nation Ford

Thursday

NORTHWESTERN HIGH

1 – Faith Baptist vs. Midland Valley

4 – Fort Mill vs. Midland Valley

7 – Northwestern vs. Fort Mill

ROCK HILL HIGH

4 – Nation Ford vs. St. Vincent Pallotti

7 – St. Vincent Pallotti vs. Greater Cabarrus

SOUTH POINTE HIGH

6 – South Pointe vs. Rock Hill

Friday

NORTHWESTERN HIGH

Noon – Midland Valley vs. Oxford Hill

3 – Northwestern vs. Oxford Hill

6 – Northwestern vs. Faith Baptist

ROCK HILL HIGH

4 – Rock Hill vs. Nation Ford

SOUTH POINTE HIGH

3 – South Pointe vs. St. Vincent Pallotti

6 – South Pointe vs. Greater Cabarrus

Saturday

ROCK HILL HIGH

10 a.m. – Rock Hill vs. St. Vincent Pallotti

SOUTH POINTE HIGH

10 a.m. – Nation Ford vs. Greater Cabarrus

NORTHWESTERN HIGH

10 a.m. – Fort Mill vs. Faith Baptist

2 – CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

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