Elk-McKean to play at J-Bird Wood Bat Classic in Smethport starting Friday

Bob Parana - Staff Writer

The Southern Tier Cardinals will host the 2020 J-Bird Wood Bat Classic beginning Friday evening at George Murray Stadium in Smethport. The Elk-McKean All-Stars are among the five teams competing in the round-robin tournament which ends with the championship game at 2 p.m. Sunday. The two local teams will meet Saturday night at 8 p.m.

The tournament also includes the Erie Steelheads, the Core Athletic Black Sox from the Butler area, and the Southern Tier Power which includes players from the Hinsdale, New York area. Round-robin action gets underway Friday at 6 p.m. with the Cardinals taking on the Black Sox. Elk-McKean will face the Power at 8 p.m. Saturday’s six games begin with the Cardinals playing the Power at 10 a.m. Sunday they will play their final round-robin game vs. Erie at noon.

“I think it’s going to be good solid competition with strong hitting, great defense and of course good pitching,” said Southern Tier Manager Dick Ognen. “We wanted to draw good teams with strong tournament experience,” he added. Ognen said the wooden bats will bring more of a “baseball feel” to the event.

The Cardinals finished 3-2 last weekend at the 16-u Lake Effect Tournament in Orchard Park, New York. They went 3-0 at the tournament they hosted at George Murray Stadium July 17-18.

Elk-McKean finished 1-2 at the 17-u Callahan Auto Parts Classic held in Sandusky, Ohio Monday and Tuesday. The All-Stars will play Erie at 6 p.m Saturday prior to the game with the Cards. They will finish round-robin action Sunday vs. Core Athletics at 10 a.m.

All Friday and Saturday Cardinal and Elk-McKean games will be broadcast on either WDDH, 97.5 – The Hound, or WKBI, 93.9 – B94 (see schedule). Broadcasts for Sunday’s games have not been decided.

The tournament is named in honor of Jarret Costanzo who passed at the age of six in 2013. He is the son of Angelo and Michelle Costanzo of Kane. “The team is named for our Jarrett. His nickname is JayBird. He had blazing red hair and a cardinal is a representative of loved ones who have passed. They represent love and devotion and it all seemed to fit. Jarrett I am sure is happy and very proud to have this team named for him,” Mrs. Costanzo said in an early July interview. Her son Jake is on the team which is made up of players from Kane, Smethport, Port Allegany, Bradford, Ulysses, and Tioga County.

“We decided to have this tournament two months ago and started throwing ideas around. I talked to Michelle (Costanzo) and said we wanted to call it the J-Bird Wood Bat Classic and she was elated to do it,” Ognen said. Medals bearing the tournament's name will be presented to the champions by Mr. and Mrs. Costanzo.

Title game participants will be determined by win-loss records with head-to-head and run differential used to break ties. A coin flip will decide the home team. Games will be seven innings or limited to an hour-and-50-minutes. If scores are even after seven innings, one extra inning will be permitted and the game. A tie will be awarded if there is not a winner after eight innings. The game will end via the Mercy Rule if a team leads by 12 runs after three innings, 10 after four innings, and eight runs after five innings.
2020 J-Bird Wood Bat Classic Schedule
Friday, July 31

6 p.m. – Cardinals vs. Black Sox (WDDH)

8 p.m. – Elk-McKean vs. Power (WKBI)

Saturday, August 1

10 a.m. – Cardinals vs. Power (WDDH)

12 p.m. – Black Sox vs. Steelheads

2 p.m. – Steelheads vs. Power

4 p.m. – Power vs. Black Sox

6 p.m. – Elk McKean vs. Steelheads (WDDH)

8 p.m. – Cardinals vs. Elk-McKean (WKBI)

Sunday, Aug. 2

10 a.m. – Elk McKean vs. Black

12p.m. – Cardinals vs. Steelheads

2 p.m. – Championship game - TBD