Over the past several years, a great deal of work has been done to improve the baseball fields at Bob Smith Park.
Fences have been installed, artificial turf has been laid on the pitcher’s mounds and home plate, and pitcher’s mounds have been built on the sidelines for relievers to warm up. Last year, brand new scoreboards were put in place.
All of that effort allows Lebanon to host events such as last weekend’s 2018 JBO Junior National State Tournament. Twelve teams from around the state traveled to Lebanon for a double-elimination tournament which started on Thursday, July 12, and concluded on Sunday, July 15.
This was the fourth youth tournament to be hosted at Bob Smith Park this year. Three invitational tournaments were held at the park earlier this season. The summer schedule will conclude this week with the JBO Junior Federal state tournament Thursday through Sunday, July 19-22. That will be an eight-team tournament.
Cindi Feldman traveled to Lebanon from Eugene to watch her son’s Marist squad take on Tualatin on Thursday. This was her first visit to Bob Smith Park.
“It’s very nice. It’s a great facility,” Feldman said.
Casey Humphrey serves as the tournament director. He is an office manager at the Weyerhaeuser Santiam Sawmill and thanks to the support of his supervisor, Nick Brooks, he is provided with the job flexibility he needs to take on this volunteer work.
“Nick is a big supporter of the community and of Lebanon athletics,” Humphrey said.
A team of approximately eight volunteers help Humphrey run the tournaments and high school students chip in by doing the game announcing and other tasks.
Tre Kennedy, a member of the Lebanon JBO Board of Directors, said annual grants from the tourism commission have helped cover the costs of the field improvements. For the past several years, the commission has provided $5,000 annually to fund projects.
The commission is funded with proceeds from the city’s transient room tax.
Humphrey is excited about what the fields will be able to do in the future.
“We’ll try to do more every year and make it better than the years before,” Humphrey said.
On the field, the Lincoln squad won the tournament, defeating McMinnville 8-7 on Sunday in the championship game. Lincoln went 4-0 during the tournament and McMinnville would have been required to defeat Lincoln twice to claim the title.
Sherwood placed third and Clackamas placed fourth. In addition to the Marist and Tualatin squads, the other teams at the tournament were from Milwaukie, Oregon City (Pioneer), Stayton (Santiam Youth Sports), Monmouth, Lincoln and Philomath.