The Boulder National Invitational baseball Tournament is set for its 11th edition this year, and while several changes in venues have taken place for the five-day long, highly anticipated event, the commitment from several in- and out-of-state club teams shows that Boulder is still an outstanding July destination for summer squads.
Thirty-two 19U teams from Colorado, five other states and Canada will be vying for a berth in the title game, Sunday at Scott Carpenter Park. Whereas in the past the home of the Boulder Panthers was an integral part of the tournament, there will be no pool play at Suitts Field.
Instead, the teams will divide into eight pools and play at six different fields — Fairview, Monarch, Peak to Peak, Holy Family, Northglenn and Golden will all host games.
Diamond Baseball of Boulder, a non-profit organization that supports youth baseball in the city, still runs the BNIT. One important aspect of this year's tournament is that proceeds will be used to help fund new dugouts at the Iris Fields, one of the complexes used by the Boulder Bison youth teams.
At each site, the daily admission will be $5 for adults, $3 for students ages 6-18 and no charge for seniors, veterans of the armed forces or children under 6.
Wednesday and Thursday are reserved for pool play, in which each team will play three times to qualify for a 16-team bracket (pool winners and runner-up). Teams will then play single-elimination playoffs through Sunday, with an estimated 2 p.m. game time for the title tilt.
As has been the case for years, both traditional high school teams and club teams fill the pool. Boulder, Fairview, Monarch, Peak to Peak, Holy Family and Longmont-Erie will all field teams, but the Slammers and Gameday organizations will be heavily present.
Out of state teams that accepted the invitation include the Idaho Falls Bandits and Billings Royals — teams that won their respective pools last season — along with Rapid City Post 320 and the Regina White Sox, the latter team coming from Saskatchewan.