The first winner of this week's BP Exploration Invitational baseball tournament? Whoever drew up the schedule.
The 20th annual American Legion tournament begins Thursday at Mulcahy Stadium with two games, both involving Anchorage teams. The other four teams don't play until Friday – a good thing, given that two of them are playing a game Thursday in Kenai that was supposed to be played Wednesday but got moved back a day because of rain.
Columbia Post 19 of Tennessee and the Strathmore Reds of Alberta, Canada, will play in a 9 a.m. semifinal game Thursday at the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat tournament in Kenai. The winner will meet Service Post 28 in the noon championship game.
All four Outside teams entered in the BP tournament also played in the Kenai tournament. The other two are Team Avenue Academy of California and the Colchester Cannons of Vermont. None of the Alaska teams in the Kenai tournament are playing in the Anchorage tournament.
Play begins Thursday at Mulcahy when Dimond Post 21 takes on Eagle River at 10 a.m. South Post 4 meets Chugiak Post 33 at noon.
All eight teams will play Friday, when five pool-play games are held. There's another five pool-play games on Saturday. Bracket play begins Sunday, with semifinals at 11:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. and the championship game schedule to start at 7:30 p.m.
The tournament is part of the four-event Alaska Airlines tournament tour, which brings four teams to Alaska to play in tournaments in Anchorage, Kenai, Wasilla and Fairbanks. Team Avenue Academy claimed the championships at the Todd Ryan Memorial that ended Sunday in Wasilla.
BP Exploration Invitational
10 a.m. – Dimond vs. Eagle River
1 p.m. – Chugiak vs. South
9:15 a.m. – Dimond vs. Colchester
11:45 a.m. – Strathmore vs. Colchester
2:15 p.m. – Strathmore vs. Eagle River
5 p.m. – South vs. Team Avenue
7:30 p.m. – Columbia vs. Chugiak