Days of preparation by booster clubs and coaches at local high schools will be rewarded today.
Denton and Argyle’s baseball fields will serve as two of the five sites for the Russell Athletic North Texas Classic, while Ryan and Liberty Christian will be the host schools for the James Taylor Classic. In softball, Ryan will play host to the Tina Minke Tournament.
Denton head baseball coach Glen Harrison said for his squad, being the host school for the tournament has many added benefits for those outside of the school.
“People get a chance to see good teams come in here from all over, not just the [Dallas-Fort Worth] area,” Harrison said. “It’s a chance for us to play at home all the time. We really don’t make a whole lot of money off these things, but I enjoy the camaraderie that we have when we bring the teams in here.”
Denton and Argyle join Fort Worth Brewer, Frisco Liberty and Trophy Club Nelson as two of the five sites for the 20-team tournament. Denton opens the tournament and season at 1:30 p.m. against Saginaw, while Argyle plays Rowlett at 11 a.m. at home.
Tomball, the defending Class 4A state champions led by head coach Doug Rush, plays the Broncos at 6:30 p.m. Rush graduated from Denton and was also a former assistant for the Broncos.
At Ryan, the tradition of playing host to the James Taylor Classic continues. Liberty, the defending TAPPS Class 5A champions, is one of the eight teams in the tournament and will also play host to some of the tournament’s games.
Ryan opens play at home today at 12:30 p.m. against Corsicana, while Liberty faces Fort Worth Arlington Heights at 1 p.m at Liberty’s Ingerity Park.
The James Taylor Classic is in its 20th year. The tournament honors former Ryan student James Taylor, a two-sport athlete who died in a car accident in 1994.
Ryan head baseball coach Bret Warnack said the team is excited to start the season off like it has in years past.
“Personally, I think we do put on the best tournament in the state of Texas, as far as all the stuff that the parents do and the involvement that we have out here with everybody,” Warnack said. “It’s just evolved and gotten better as the years have gone on. It’s a great atmosphere. It’s a great way for us to kick off the season.”
Across the school’s campus, Ryan’s softball team will conduct a memorial tournament of its own. The Lady Raiders will continue remembering the person whose sculpture stands beyond the right-field wall of the field that bears her name.
Seven teams, including Denton, will participate in the Tina Minke Tournament. Minke played volleyball and softball at Denton High-Ryan, but died in 1995 in a car accident. Minke was a registered organ donor, and the tournament reflects the difference she made.
Ryan head softball coach Aimee Foutch said it’s an honor to be the host of the tournament for another year.
“The representation that Tina Minke gives to the girls, in the sense of someone who is caring and dedicated to what she loved to do, which was helping others, I think that’s a good story line to share with young kids,” Foutch said.
The Lady Raiders open the tournament at 11 a.m. today against Trophy Club Nelson.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.