BOONE — It’s almost time for the Will Dicus Memorial Baseball Tournament to start. Organizers of the event have looked for volunteers, umpires and baseball teams in anticipation of the tournament, which goes for two days June 15-16 and again June 22-23.
The 12-under games will be played at the Watauga Parks and Recreation Complex fields and the 15-under bracket will be played at Watauga High School June 15-16.
“You’re never ready,” co-tournament Director Bill Dicus said. “The nice thing about the calendar is it just moves right along, ready or not. One thing is come Saturday, we’re going to play baseball whether we’re ready to play or not.”
Heavy rain has fallen in the area, but that’s not high on Dicus’ concerns list. Having enough umpires and volunteers available to allow the tournament run smoothly is more important to him.
“I prefer to worry about stuff that I can control and make it as good as I can, but I can’t really do much about (the weather),” Dicus said. “We want it to be nice. We’ve had a real good track record about getting games in, but if you play outdoor sports in the summer time you get some rain.”
A total of six teams, two from Watauga County, are scheduled to play in the 12-under division. Watauga Blue opens the tournament with a game against the Ashe Aces at 8:30 a.m. on June 15. The Watauga White plays the Caldwell County All-Stars at 10:15.
All of the 12-under games will be played at Complex 3 Field.
The 15-under bracket, which will be played at Watauga High School, begins at 8:30 a.m. on June 15 when the Watauga All-Stars plays Equip, which is from Watauga. Watauga also plays the Diamond Elite at 12:30 p.m. and Equip plays the Elite Baseball team.
The tournament championship games will be played June 16. The following weekend, June 22-23, have more teams registered to play.
Dicus said just finding enough fields to play and finding umpires to officiate those games has been difficult, but he’s optimistic those problems can be solved.
“We’re really just firming up the teams that are playing,” Dicus said. “We’ve got a situation where we may have to tell somebody they can’t play because we don’t have enough fields or umpires or volunteers. We hate to do that because we want the kids to keep playing baseball.”
The namesake of the tournament, Will Dicus, died of Ewing’s Sarcoma when he was 18.
The tournament has raised thousands of dollars and was a key fundraiser for the construction of the Will Dicus Batting Facility at Watauga High School. The building is complete, but there are still some bills to be paid connected to the facility.
The tournament also raises funds for the different baseball entities in the county from youth to the high school. It also raises funds for charitable reasons and for “baseball families” who might need financial help for members who have “children facing life-altering diseases,” according to the tournament’s website.
Fellow co-tournament Director Marty Lambert said the field at Mount Vernon Baptist Church, which is home to the Equip teams, will be used in the 7-under machine pitch game being played June 22-23.
“We raised more than $100,000 for the building and we’ve got excellent feedback from many people who have said their teams would have struggled without it,” Lambert said. “Our goal was, and it was the same for Will, was to give an opportunity for kids to play.”