By Bruce Sayler
Butte baseball received the pinch hit it was looking for on Tuesday when Advantage Butte stepped up the plate and agreed to pay the application fee for possibly playing host to a state American Legion baseball tournament.
The May meeting of Advantage Butte was held at The Metals Sports Bar & Grill, and the baseball action became the keystone to the gathering’s agenda. It acted on a Bill Melvin emergency motion to grant the fee amount, $1,000, so that Butte American Legion baseball may bid on the 2017 state Class A baseball tournament.
Baseball representative Marcus Hislop said the program planned to pay the fee from its own funds if Advantage Butte declined the request. The tourney, if landed, would be held at the new ballpark now under construction at the Copper Mountain Youth Sports Park.
The deadline for application is June 1 and 2017 is the Southern Division’s turn to play host to the state tournament. Hislop said he expected Belgrade and Helena to also enter bids. Advantage Butte members questioned whether the application fee is refundable should the bid fail. Hislop said he did not know, but would try to find the answer from state officials.
After a good start, it was his call to the bullpen to help finish.
Melvin, manager of the Butte Civic Center, noted that the bid deadline will arrive before the next Advantage Butte meeting (set for June 21 at the Butte Plaza Inn), and suggested the organization suspend some of its requirements for accepting financial requests and not demand the entry of a formal, paper request. He moved that the body of Advantage Butte take action on the matter at the moment.
Mark Hughes of Super 8 motel seconded the motion and the attending members approved it without dissent. The vote was called by Rody Holman, Advantage Butte president, who presided over the meeting. He represents PayneWeber Insurance.
Melvin offered to also help with bid preparation, referring to his experience with the Civic Center and Advantage Butte in helping on the bids for city in landing state high school sports championship tournaments and meets.
“I want this tournament,” a grateful Hislop said. “We want to turn that field into a shining star.”
The proposal was at first to grant the money if the fee is refundable should the tourney not be awarded to Butte. After discussion, past president Ron Davis, of Butte Broadcasting and buttesports.com, and sitting vice president Kami Johnson of the Butte Copper Company and the Butte Plaza Inn, suggested the group not ask the American Legion for repayment if it is a non-refundable fee. Such was agreed.
“We want to help,” Holman said. “This is an important tournament. And, from a timing standpoint, this (motion) is crucial.”
Hislop updated the group on other baseball matters. He noted the American Legion baseball season is in full swing with Butte fielding Class AA, Class A and Class B teams. The Class B teams plays also against Butte Senior Little League teams, he said.
He also said Butte youth baseball will play host to a 24-team tournament the first weekend in June.
The money to help should be there, according to the treasurer’s report given by Brad Spear, who also represents Anderson ZurMuehlen and Co., to Advantage Butte. He said $45,695 is in the checking account, though $7,400 in outstanding commitments still exist for the current school sports year.
He told the group he will be re-invoicing the January contacts for membership renewals also in the coming weeks. Some routinely play at the start of the sports year, others at midyear.
Melvin said Civic Center activity for the near future will include the Copper City Jammer Car Show on Saturday, the Butte High All-Sports Banquet on June 1, the Butte High graduation ceremonies on June 2, serving as polling place for the primary election on June 7, the Butte Wrestling Club dinner on June 10, the Good Sams Butte camp-out July 6-9, the Shrine Game Banquet on July 15 and the Silver Bow County Fair Aug. 3-6. The Shrine Game Banquet will be on the eve of the July 16 East-West Shrine Game football classic to be held at Bob Green Field on the Montana Tech campus.
The Butte 100 report, relayed to the group by Wilmoth on behalf of rep Gina Evans, included a call for volunteers to help with the late July mountain biking spectacle, and the announcement that The Staggering Ox has been added to the sponsors.
Don Peoples Jr., representing Butte Central Catholic schools and the Maroon Activities Center, reminded that high school sports have tennis and track divisional tournaments this weekend and that the BC softball team wraps up the regular season on Thursday. He also said the MAC will be the venue for club basketball tournaments next month. A boys’ tourney is planned for June 10-11 and a girls’ for June 17, he said. He said several sports camps are on the summer calendar.
Much is going on the Butte Family YMCA, director Philip Borup told the meeting-goers. He said 13 vendors recently manned booths at the Healthy Kids Day about summer activity. The Fritz Apostel Dream outdoor water safety program for Butte school children is also wrapping up as the school year winds down. Borup said the program involved more than 1,500 kids this year.
He also said the Y will play host to the Mining City Classic swim meet Nov. 4-6, and that he plans to bid on the state swim meet next year for the facility’s pool. He said he is hoping the Y will be the venue for as many as five swim meets next school year.
“So, we’re hoping to install new blocks, at a cost of $20,000 to $30,000, for those meets,” Borup said.
He added that a triathlon will be held on June 4 with the biking section of the event changed to a 12.5-mile route. Other activities in the works, Borup said, include a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, to maybe involve a challenge with the Helena Y tourney with teams entering both, a competitive swim camp in July, the Active 6 program for sixth-graders, possibly helping with middle school clubs, and the an after-school care program with the Butte school district.
Holman inquired about status of the Butte YMCA’s Riptide swim team and Borup said it is still going through sanctioning procedures.
Wilmoth spoke about the Out of the Darkness Run, which is a fundraiser for the American Society for Suicide Prevention. She said money raised will go toward projects such as scientific research into causes of suicide, medical research, staff training for suicide prevention, etc. The run is slated for Sept. 11 at the Butte Chamber of Commerce building. Participants will run or walk the walking trail to Father Sheehan Park. Wilmoth said last year’s initial Butte Out of the Darkness run raised $15,000 and the goal this year is $22,000. She said sponsors are being sought and different levels, tax-deductible, are available — $250-$399, $400-$699 and $700-and-higher. She said more information is available on the buttewalk.org Website. Wilmoth said staff training in suicide prevention is available by contacting her.
Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marko Lucich said coming events include the return of the Duck Races on June 10 at the Quality Inn, the Color Dash at the Chamber’s headquarters on July 2 and the Chamber’s golf tournament at Fairmont Hot Springs on Aug. 19.