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Play ball: West Coast baseball tournament continues in Treasure Valley despite heat

The West Coast Premier Freedom Days tournament brought teams from Oregon, Washington, eastern Idaho, Nevada and more to the area.

BOISE, Idaho — More than 80 baseball teams around the region are in the Treasure Valley to play baseball this holiday weekend. Although the heatwave in the area threw the tournament a curveball, it isn't canceling plans.

"We thought we were going to get a little better luck with heat, but it's following us," said Michael Naughton, head coach of Coast to Coast Turf Baseball from Camas, Washington.

The West Coast Premier Freedom Days tournament brought teams from Oregon, Washington, eastern Idaho, Nevada and more to the area. Games will be scattered across 22 fields in the cities of Boise, Caldwell, Eagle, Meridian and Nampa.

Several teams dropped out of the tournament because of this week's heat, so officials had to scramble to figure out a new schedule.

"We'll figure it out and we'll put on the best tournament we can for these kids that are coming in who want to play," said Michael 'Sully' Sullivan, an umpire with Idaho Baseball Umpires Association.

The tournament is switching up its schedule to hopefully avoid some of the hotter times of the day. Baseball games will start at 7:30 a.m. and will wrap up sometime around noon. Then teams and officials will take a break and come back around 7 p.m. to play again.

"Bring water," Sullivan said. "We as umpires should understand that you need to be hydrated."

Sullivan is one of the dozens of umpires helping out in this weekend's tournament. Among enforcing the rules of the game, he believes it's part of the umpire's responsibility to also look out for players and keep them safe.

"We got to kind of keep an eye on the kids that are playing and make sure they're hydrated, you know?" Sullivan said.

Even in the record-breaking heatwave, he's planning on keeping his spirits high.

"We hope a team from Oregon walks off and says, 'Hey, the best umpire's we've ever had. Thank you,'" Sullivan said.

Sullivan is hoping visiting players and their families will make the trip back to Treasure Valley, so they can help continue to grow the sport for the area.

"We welcome any and all tournaments," Sullivan said.

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