A barrage of 48 teams from across the midwest, including Eagle River, will hit the North Woods this weekend with hopes of being crowned World Series champs, when for the second consecutive year Minocqua will play host to the Small Town Baseball World Series which begins Friday.

Eagle River will be competing in three age brackets with teams in the 10U, 12U and 14U divisions.

The 10U team will get their tourney underway in the first game Friday at 9 a.m. as they face Hustisford. That game is set at the Lakeland Union High School softball complex at Lenz Field.

Their next game will be played Saturday at 9:45 a.m. at the Highway 70 West Park Complex in Minocqua when they face Hayward. Their third and final game of pool play is set Saturday afternoon at 5:15 p.m., also at the 70 West Complex, when they play Little Chute.

The 8-team bracket will then be seeded in accordance with record for play Sunday with the top seeds from each of the two pools competing for the championship.

In the 12U division, Eagle River begins play Friday at noon at the 70 West Complex as they face Ladysmith. Their second game will be set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Sedlak Field against Spooner. Sedlak Field is located on Highway 51 South across from the Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce.

After two games the 13 different teams in the 12U bracket will be seeded into a single elimination bracket with the top two teams receiving byes into Sunday morning’s games.

Eagle River’s 14U team is in a five team bracket which will consist of a two-game preliminary before being seeded into a single-elimination bracket.

The team will begin Friday with an 11:15 a.m. contest at the 70 West Complex against Independence-Gil­man­ton. Their second game is set Saturday at 8 a.m. when they face Edgar.

About Small Town

Small Town Baseball organizes Regional, State and Worldwide tournaments across seven Midwest states and Canada. It is designed for teams with high school enrollments of 700 or under and features competition in 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14U age brackets.

State championship tournaments occur throughout the Midwest and the World Series is the final tournament event of the season. The World Series is already set to draw teams from Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and Canada. The Series is almost full with 44 teams registered.

According to Small Town Baseball owner Rick Westfall, the system was designed with the intent to create a lasting experience for teams and towns playing against teams of similar size.

“We try to make the experience everything it’s meant to be for teams coming from small towns all over America and beyond,” said Westfall. “One thing this sport is founded upon is the ability for anyone to compete, no matter where you’re from or what the size of your program might be. It does give the small guys a taste of what it feels like to compete on a bigger stage.”

According to Minocqua Chamber group travel coordinator Jane Kincheloe, the area is ready to host the event for the second time, and looks forward to showcasing the area from Wausau to Minocqua, Eagle River, Rhinelander and across the North Woods.

“We are excited to host this tournament once again,” said Kincheloe. “This will be a great economic impact for not only our area communities but our neighboring towns in the North Woods area as well.”

Games are open to the public and all are welcome and encouraged to attend. There will be a special ceremony on Saturday, prior to games starting at 7:45 a.m., with special area dignitaries throwing out the first pitch, the American Legion Color Guard and the singing of the National Anthem.

Members of the Lakeland Area Baseball Association and the Chamber of Commerce are seeking volunteers to help at this event.

If interested, contact Kincheloe at (715) 356-5266 or jane@minocqua.org.