Brad Wallin tourney grows in 10th year

Drew Veskauf TimesNewspapers

Five days, 231 teams and 455 baseball games played accounted for the largest year in the Brad Wallin Memorial Tournament 10 year history.

The tourney consisted of seven youth baseball league divisions from 9-15-under.

All of the proceeds from the tourney will be donated to St. Jude and a check will be presented at the 2014 St. Jude telethon in Peoria.

In the nine years before, the tourney has raised $169,300. An amount for this years tourney has not been totalled yet.

Director of the tourney and father of late Brad Wallin, Jeff Wallin said the tournament couldn’t happen without the help of the volunteers and the tournament coordinator Tim Culbertson.

“At any given time there’s 100 plus volunteers out working the fields, selling T-shirts and getting raffle tickets out and making sure the umpires are getting everything they need,” Wallin said.

“And if it rains, that number jumps to about 170 volunteers.”

The tourney originated in 2005 in dedication to Brad Wallin after his battle with a rare form of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma. After numerous operations and chemo therapy, Brad Wallin died at the young age of 11.

This year, in memory of Brad Wallin, all of the Chillicothe traveling youth teams sported camouflaged jerseys with Wallin’s name and his No. 14 on the backs.

In the first year, the tourney consisted of 10 teams in just one division. The 100-team mark was breached in 2011 when five divisions competed. In 2013, the number grew to 161 and one year later, 70 teams and another division were added.

“They know its going for a good cause. It doesn’t take long for the word to get out on what were doing. It’s just spread from community to community,” Jeff Wallin said. “The numbers add up pretty quickly.” 

Jeff Wallin said the tourney is not advertised and the growth would be too much if they did.

“If we did advertise we’d have 5-600 teams in here and logistically we just can’t handle that,” Jeff Wallin said.

This year, 18 fields were in use at any given time. Dunlap and Princeville fields were made official due to the high numbers.

Another new feature was the electronic and live entry online of the brackets for people to see who was winning on the tournament website.

Jeff Wallin and his family were presented with gifts at the end of the tourney by the core group of volunteers. An inscribed stone and a baseball bat dedicated to the 10th year of the 

tourney were given to the family.

“It was very touching what the core group did for us as far as appreciation. It was very nice. a lot of happy memories and a lot of tears both,” Jeff Wallin said.

Next year’s tournament is expected to be the same size, Jeff Wallin said.

“Never dreamed it. It keeps blowing up and blowing up. Every year we have a nice check to present to the St. Jude kids. We do it to raise money and to keep our sons name alive. That’s the only reason we do this,” Jeff Wallin said.