The financials are not in yet, but Homestead Athletic Director and on-site coordinator Ryan Mangan was happy and so reportedly was WIAA Tournament Manager Wade Labecki at the overall results, coordination and attendance of the third state summer baseball tournament held in Mequon at Concordia's Kapco Park.
The event was helped greatly by the qualification and the eventual advancement to the finals of the "home town" Highlander squad. The slightly drippy weather that hit the first semifinal on Friday, July, 25 disappeared by the time of the second semi and it was almost completely clear for the evening's title game.
Semifinal games were well attended and though not a complete sell-out, the final between eventual champion Brookfield Central and Homestead was packed.
"I had a little more vested interest than with just four teams I have no affiliation with," laughed Mangan afterwards. "It went pretty normally. We get good help from the (freshmen and junior varsity) players, parents and volunteers. Normally Ernie (head coach Millard) helps me, but seeing as he was a little busy getting ready, his junior varsity coach Mitch Hauser helped out.
"We had the people in place and though it was nice to have my team there, there was still a lot to do whether they were involved or not. But let's just say there was a lot more friendly focus (laughs)."
Summer baseball is always in a state of flux. There were 50-some schools involved this past year and a couple of more have announced plans to retreat to spring ball next year, but Mangan said the WIAA is still very pleased with the new format that was instituted three years ago when the tourney was moved from Stevens Point to Mequon.
The fact that the vast majority of summer ball teams are Milwaukee-based plus some good weather over the last three years has meant a marked increase in attendance and interest in the tourney. If the number of schools involved stays reasonably stable (though there seems to be a new plan in place every day), Mangan gets the impression from the WIAA that there would be no reason to change anything.
Though that itself could change.
"With a four-team event done all in one day on one site, one that can handle a lot of water without fear of cancellation (Kapco has an artificial turf infield), it just really works," said Mangan. "It's a profitable venture and it's one of the few events the WIAA makes money on."
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