Alameda Little Leaguers set to play Friendship Tournament
Today marks the start of the five-day Alameda Friendship Tournament, a brand-new tournament that will include teams from Alameda, Albany, Oakland – and Australia.
The tournament is the brainchild of Anatole Zurrer, who leads the Australia Baseball NSW team, and Ron Matthews, who is president of Alameda Little League. Matthews said Zurrer was here with a team of 15-year-olds who were playing in the World Tournament last summer, and they talked about doing a similar tournament for teams of 12-year-olds. (Australia’s coaches are John Rodios, David Perks and Glen Willott.)
“I agreed to host the first year if he would host on 2010. That is how it came to be,” Matthews said.
During their 10-day visit to Alameda, the Australian team is set to do some sightseeing in San Francisco and take in an Oakland A’s game, in addition to practices and games. The games are set to start at 5 p.m. today on the Alameda Little League fields at Rittler Park, which is at the corner of Grand and Otis. The tournament will conclude with a championship game on Monday.
An exciting feature of the tournament, Matthews said, will be a series of exhibition games set for Saturday and Sunday that will feature something brand-new: Mixed teams of Australian and American players.
“Boys from different world tournament (teams) never get a chance to compete with each other. They compete against each other. So this is unique,” Matthews said, adding that Alameda’s 15-year-old team is in Italy right now competing in this year’s world tournament. “The inherent cultural exchange is awesome.”