Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

June 27, 2013

Firecracker tournaments rained out

Junior and Senior legion washed out in Mattoon

Daily News

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MATTOON — The 28th Annual Mattoon Firecracker barely got underway this year before the rains came.

And like that, it was over.

Persistent rain throughout Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday led to the cancellation of the Junior Legion Firecracker tournament Wednesday morning, and the subsequent cancellation of the Senior Legion tournament Wednesday afternoon.

The Junior Legion tournament had gotten underway, with a handful of teams playing two games Tuesday, including Toledo and Shelby County.

The Junior teams were then only supposed to play one game Wednesday due to the threat of rain, but more rain Wednesday morning washed out the rest of the tournament with no champion.

"It is unfortunate," said Toledo coach Jim Talley. "The research I did on Macon County (Wednesday's opponent) said we should have been able to play with them. I was looking forward to having a game with them. You want to get in as many games as you can before districts, but it happens."

At least the Junior teams got games in, however.

Effingham, Shelby County and the St. Anthony travel team were scheduled to be part of the 15-team Senior Legion tournament, initially scheduled to be played Wednesday but pushed to Thursday after Monday's rain out.

The teams were told the three fields (Grimes Park, Mattoon High School, Lake Land College) would not be playable Thursday, and with no other make up dates available, the tournament was canceled.

The tournament was a source of high quality competition for teams like Effingham, whose first game was scheduled against Moline, last year's defending state champions.

Now, teams like Effingham will not call the weekend a bust, but it will require some scrambling.

"Everyone's looking to find fields and games to try and salvage the weekend," said Effingham coach Brian Hayes. "There's a lot of phone calls going on right now."

It's nothing new for Hayes and Post 120, however.

"We had a really nice round robin with Bethalto and Fairview Heights (last weekend), and it got rained out there," he said. "It's less than ideal."