If the weather forecast holds true, Rainball will be anything but this weekend.
The 29th annual invitational softball tournament runs today through Sunday at Dimond and Savikko Parks, and clear skies are expected with temperatures in the mid-70s to mid-80s.
Twenty-eight teams are registered to play this year, including all five of last year's division champions. Nine teams are from out of town, including eight from Sitka and one from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.
The tournament begins with a series of round-robin games through Saturday morning, then shifts to a double-elimination format Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
In Men's Division C, two-time defending champion House of Liquor of Sitka will play against Imperial (Juneau), Taku Oil (Juneau), Stereonorth.com (Juneau) and Stereo North (Sitka). Kris Pearson, last year's division MVP, will return to play with House of Liquor.
Anchor Electric of Juneau is back to try for a second straight title in Men's Division D. It will face the Sitka Islanders, Canton House (Juneau), Floors Galore (Juneau), Harri Plumbing (Juneau), Allen Marine (Sitka) and Stereo North-Bose (Sitka).
In Men's Division E, Ward's Plumbing - with last year's division MVP, Greg Cashen - returns to defend its crown against the First National Capitals (Juneau), Superior Builders (Juneau), Crusaders (Juneau) and Timberwolf (Juneau).
Pat's Douglas Inn/Louie's of Juneau - one of the longest-running teams in tourney history - will try for its third straight title in Women's Division C. Carrie Cummings, who was division MVP last year with Pat's/Louie's, is now managing new entrant Jovany's of Juneau.
Other teams in Women's Division C this year are The Crew (Whitehorse), Imperial (Juneau) and Doak's (Juneau).
In Women's Division D, Merchant's Wharf is back to defend its title - minus last year's MVP, Kerin Wilson, who has jumped to Division C and now plays for Jovany's. Other Women's Division D teams are Emblem Club (Sitka), Gabriel's Angels (Juneau), Ballbusters (Juneau), Diehards (Juneau) and Allen Marine (Sitka).
Tournament play opens this evening with a trio of Men's Division E games at Dimond Park, starting with Superior Builders against Crusaders at 5:50 p.m.
All divisions except for Women's Division D will see action on Friday, with games starting at 5:50 p.m. at Dimond and Savikko Parks. On Saturday, all divisions get on the field with games starting at 7:50 a.m. at Dimond Park and 8:30 a.m. at Savikko Park.
Double-elimination games will be determined based on round-robin results. Complete schedules are available on the Web at www.jsaweb.org.
This year's tournament will feature the first Ray Bradley Jr. Sportsmanship Award. The honor, to be given to one team at the tournament, is in memory of an avid local softball player who died in April.
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