Hometown ball on a Saturday afternoon…

Some of the Spring Valley and Wykoff area’s best hometown ballplayers will be on the field at South Park on Saturday, Aug. 20, to pitch and bat with all their might.

About half of the competitors make up local teams, and a few are from different towns, such as Rochester, Caledonia, Austin and even some in Iowa. The goal is to get 12 teams, according to Spring Valley Ag Days softball tournament organizer Brett Oeltjen.

The games are set to begin at approximately 9 a.m. Saturday, with a tentative end at 5 p.m.

“The tournament is double elimination, four outs to a game, and even though we’ve never had American Softball Association (ASA) umps before, we’re having them this year to make calling the games a lot more fair,” said Oeltjen. “I want at least 12 teams to start, but if we have more than 12 teams, then we’d have to start the tournament on Friday night or have more play on Sunday.”

The entry fee for teams stands at $170 -- registrations for teams end Wednesday, Aug. 17, at 5 p.m. — but that fee funds a cash prize of $500 for first place, $350 for second and $200 for third. Oeltjen noted that quite often, teams travel to different towns based on where the ball-playing and the prizes are best.

“It’s entertaining watching teams from different towns play ball against each other and against people from other towns that you don’t know,” he said. “It’s nice to have different people to watch.”

The tournament offers not only an opportunity for small-town ballplayers to get out on the field, but for spectators to have a seat in the bleachers and keep an eye on the action. There’s a lot of other activities and fun stuff at the park, noted Oeltjen, and “tons of entertainment for kids to grownups, like swimming, concession stands, music, and if a family comes and a guy wants to watch softball, there’s plenty for his kids to do. We’ll be playing rain or shine, unless there’s lightning, so people should come up and watch the tournament.”

Oeltjen cited that registration is closing quickly for the tournament, but if anyone has questions, they may contact him at 507-251-1617.