The summer men's softball season gets underway the weekend of April 25-27 (rain date: May 9-11) at the 2008 First Pitch Invitational in Oxford. This modified-pitch softball tournament, held at the Oxford Athletic Association Complex, will feature 10 of the top teams in the area squaring off in round-robin competition on Friday and Saturday with the top six teams advancing to single-elimination championship play on Sunday.This year's tournament field has won a combined seven National or State Tournament Championships and is highlighted by Adco/Henick Lane and Sharkey's, both from Staten Island, NY, as well as Lancaster County powerhouses Ground Zero and Strasburg. Oxford Mason-Dixon League teams include Silvestri's Cleaning, Wyncote Golf Club and Mad-dogs, along with the Elanco League's Marlins, who will look to challenge these teams for a spot in Sunday's Final Six. New teams, Young Ones (Elanco) and Oxford Athletics (Mason-Dixon League), will also look to establish themselves against several more seasoned teams.
Adco was the 2006 ASA Men's Fast-pitch "C" National Champs and also compete every year at the prestigious Blue Water Classic, held during the July 4th holiday in Port Huron, Michigan. Sharkey's comes south again looking to follow-up on their impressive third place finish at last season's Mason-Dixon League Early Bird Tournament.
In 2005, Ground Zero of Lancaster County's Elanco League captured both the 9-Man and 10-Man "A" state championships and followed that up with 9-Man and 10-Man "Open" Championships in 2006. Elanco's Strasburg and Marlins are also no strangers to State titles themselves with Strasburg winning the 2005 9-Man "B" and 2006 9-Man "A" titles, while the Marlins took home the 2006 10-Man "A" Championship.
Oxford's Maddogs are consistently in the top five finishers at the 9-Man and 10-Man "B" State
Tournaments and are beginning this season as defending Mason-Dixon League Champs. Silvestri's Cleaning returns their core of players that brought them a highly successful 2005 summer and a 2006 Mason-Dixon League Championship. They have also have injected some youth into their line-up with hopes of a successful 2008 campaign.
Wyncote Golf Club, Oxford Athletics (Mason-Dixon League) and Young Ones (Strasburg, Elanco League) are all new teams this summer. Each is built around a core of experienced softball players so none of them can be considered "rookie" teams and all should challenge for the coveted six spots on Sunday.
Games begin at 7 p.m. on Friday night at the OAA Complex on Rt. 472 in Oxford and continue all day Saturday and Sunday with a champion being crowned on Sunday afternoon. Everyone is encouraged to come out, enjoy a hot dog at the concession stand and kick off the softball season with some great tournament action.
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