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Eight teams vie for Big Bucks title

by Brad FuquaWestern News
| June 18, 2009 12:00 AM

For the winning team, taking the championship game of the Big Bucks Tournament in Libby gives players pride and a level of confidence that could carry on through the rest of the summer.

And oh by the way, it helps pay the bills.

Eight teams will battle Friday through Sunday at Lee Gehring Field in this year’s version of the Big Bucks Tournament. Teams from Washington state, Idaho and Alberta will join three Montana representatives for a shot at the $500 first prize. Second and third pays out as well with prizes of $300 and $100, respectively.

Libby had been the site of a baseball tournament in years past but the tradition was interrupted. When current baseball coach Kelly Morford took the job, one of his assignments was to bring back the Big Bucks tourney. It is now being staged for the fourth straight year since its re-birth.

“We try our best to get different teams in that we don’t normally see throughout the year,” Morford said. “It’s fun for us and the fans to see different teams.”

The lineup includes the Libby Loggers, Mission Valley Mariners and Tri-County Cardinals out of Montana, St. Maries Savages and Prairie Cardinals out of Idaho, South Hills Stingers and GK Eagles out of Washington and a team from Calgary, Alberta.

Morford said the only new team in the field this year is Mission Valley, which “speaks well for the tournament,” he said.

The Kent (Wash.) Bulldogs won last year’s championship and is not returning.

The action begins Friday at 9 a.m. and continues into the late evening hours, following the same schedule on Saturday. Then on Sunday, the championship round games will be played with the championship scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

The championship round home teams will be decided first by record in pool play, then by fewest runs allowed. If still tied, officials will flip a coin. Tiebreakers in the final standings will be head-to-head record, fewest runs allowed and fewest total bases allowed.

Pool play games for the Loggers are at 8:15 p.m. Friday against Tri-County, at 6:15 p.m. Saturday against Calgary and at 8:15 p.m. Saturday against South Hills.

Big Bucks Tournament

June 19-21 at Lee Gehring Field

Kootenai Pool – Tri-County Cardinals, Calgary, South Hills Stingers, Libby Loggers

Cabinet Pool – Mission Valley Mariners, St. Maries Savages, GK Eagles, Prairie Cardinals

Friday’s Games

9 a.m. – Calgary vs. South Hills Stingers

11:15 a.m. – Tri-County Cardinals vs. Calgary

1:30 p.m. – Mission Valley Mariners vs. St. Maries Savages

3:45 p.m. – Prairie Cardinals vs. Mission Valley Mariners

6:15 p.m. – St. Maries Savages vs. GK Eagles

8:15 p.m. – Tri-County Cardinals vs. Libby Loggers

Saturday’s Games

9 a.m. – GK Eagles vs. Prairie Cardinals

11:15 a.m. – St. Maries Savages vs. Prairie Cardinals

1:30 p.m. – GK Eagles vs. Mission Valley Mariners

3:45 p.m. – South Hills Stingers vs. Tri-County Cardinals

6:15 p.m. – Calgary vs. Libby Loggers

8:15 p.m. – South Hills Stingers vs. Libby Loggers

Sunday’s Games

10 a.m. – Kootenai 4th place vs. Cabinet 4th place

12:30 p.m. – Kootenai 3rd place vs. Cabinet 3rd place

3 p.m. – Kootenai 2nd place vs. Cabinet 2nd place

5:30 p.m. – Kootenai 1st place vs. Cabinet 1st place