Play ball

Drew Butler
The EA Bears from Ft. Worth, Texas, play in the Oklahoma Texas Shootout at Ardmore Regional Park on Saturday. Fifty teams from across the country competed in this weekend’s tournament.

Every April, some of the best youth baseball teams from across the country come to Ardmore to compete in the Oklahoma Texas Shootout. The event is broken down into three separate tournaments based on the athletes age, and the tournaments take place over the course of three weekends.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s shootout had to be delayed by a few weeks, with the first set of teams taking to the field Friday evening.

Jennifer Glasser and her husband Rick are the event organizers, and she said the event has grown immensely over the years.

“This is our 19th year,” Glasser said. “We started out with just one weekend for all the age groups, and now we’ve grown so much we need three weekends to get everyone in.”

Fifty different teams were set to compete this weekend, and over 60 teams are scheduled for next weekend and the weekend of June 26. While many of the teams are from Oklahoma or Texas, Glasser said some come from as far away as Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and Michigan.

“Each team is guaranteed four games,” Glasser said. “They play one on Friday, two on Saturday, and then Sunday goes into bracket play. Bracket play is split up into four different divisions based on how they played, and we’ve got four different trophies — one for each bracket.”

Glasser said she rescheduled the tournaments as soon as she found out about the shutdowns.

“Tes (Stewart, Recreation Supervisor for Ardmore Parks and Recreation) had these weekends open, so we just went ahead and reserved it,” Glasser said. “Then we sent out an email to all the teams and told them about our new dates. Some had to drop out. Some were able to stay, and we also got some new teams. We were very pleased that we got as many as we did.”

The new dates also come with a new set of safety regulations to help prevent the possible transmission of COVID-19.

“All the teams are to bring their own hand sanitizer and their own cleaners to wipe their equipment down,” Glasser said. “There’s no sharing of equipment, and before they start playing they’re all supposed to wipe down their area. Then when they leave they’re supposed to wipe it down again. They also won’t be shaking hands after games, so they can tip their hat or wave instead.”