June has come and gone, summer is here and the Wilder Firecracker Classic baseball tournament is ready to roll Thursday for a four-day run in Port Angeles. Ten summer teams are ready to pitch, catch, hit and run in the 11th Dick Brown Memorial event.
The tournament is named after Brown, a longtime Wilder baseball program booster who you might have known better as "the Bud Man." He owned and operated Port Angeles Distributing for many moons.
The Sequim Baseball club is in the Red Division with Kitsap Baseball, Redmond Select, Seattle Braves and Marysville Hawks. Sequim plays Thursday in the 10 a.m. opener against Kitsap at Civic Field.
The host Wilder team plays the feature game at 7 p.m. each night (6 p.m. on Saturday) at Civic Field and they open against the Victoria Mariners. Other teams in the Blue Division are Marysville Outlaws, Narrows Baseball and North Kitsap Juniors.
The Wilder Baseball program was formed in 1979 by Scott Brodhun and Sam Hurworth of Del Hur Industries to have summer baseball for high school players from Port Angeles, Sequim, Forks, Port Townsend, Chimacum and even as far as North Kitsap.
It was named Aggies in those days and hundreds of the players have gone on to college to play and some have played in the minors. Brodhun retired in 2007 and turned the program over to former star Rob Merritt.
Wilder won state Senior Babe Ruth titles in 1982, 1987, 1989, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006 and last year finished as co-champions. The team won the regional in 1987 and took part in the World Series that year.
Major sponsors include CPA Ron Garnero, J and J Construction, Arrow Launch, Drake's U-Bake Pizza and Subs, RJ Services, 7 Cedars Casino, Del Hur, Dave and Jill Blake and Wilder Auto Center in memory of Dick Brown.
Merritt wanted to have a junior program this year but could not find enough games for the 16- and 17-year olds, so he has a roster of 21 players, with 13 first-year kids.
Pitcher Danny Romero is a three-year veteran, along with Kyle Jenkins of Port Angeles.
Sequim roster players are Alex Gillis and Anthony Washington. Forks has Tyler Ness, Brien Jaksha, Chase Moore and Justin Winters. Brandon Bancroft of Quilcene is on the roster and Port Angeles players are Cody Sullivan, Augie Konopaski, Justin Williams, A.J. Konopaski, Ryan Wilcox, Ben Wetzler, Joey Bradley, Easton Napiontek, Derek Crain, Tony Sanders, Dan Jenkins and Kyler Morgan.
The team is coming off a weekend tourney in Longview, then after the tournament this weekend, it's off to the Clackamas Legion Tournament in Oregon.
Wilder hopes to be in the state tourney in Kent from July 22-26 and make to the Kirkland Regional from July 29-Aug. 3 and maybe to the Babe Ruth World Series that will be Aug. 15-22 in Moses Lake.
Columns by KONP 1450 AM sports announcer Scooter Chapman appear weekly in the Sequim Gazette. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.