FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JOEL STEPHENS INVITATIONAL TO CELEBRATE 10TH YEAR– NINE AREA TEAMS HIGHLIGHT FIELD
MANSFIELD – The Joel Stephens Invitational Tournament, presented by Citizen’s & Northern Bank and Mansfield University, will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year. The tournament will take place Thursday, July 3 through Sunday, July 6.
Founded in 1998 to honor the memory of Joel Stephens and other players from the Twin Tiers, the tournament has built a reputation as one of the top senior level baseball tournaments in the Northeast.
The 16-team field features nine Twin Tiers teams competing against squads from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Canada.
Games will be played at three sites; MU’s Shaute Field, Kelly Field,
located in Smythe Park, Mansfield, and at Joel Stephens Memorial Field at Williamson H.S. in Tioga.
“Our goal has always been that this be a player’s tournament,” Ron Stephens, Joel’s father, said. “We strive to make the participants feel as special as the people the tournament honors. We also want to help people, as Joel always tried to do, by supporting charities, great causes and people in need.”
All money raised by the tournament benefits the Joel Stephens Foundation, which supports several charities. Last year more that $4,000 was donated to several causes including the Josh Palmer Fund, The Star Wish Foundation and Joel’s Kids.
Admission to all tournament games is free. The Joel Stephens Invitational depends on entry fees, donations, a raffle, merchandise sales, and program ad sales to generate revenue.
This year’s raffle includes baseball memorabilia and a special outing donated by the Philadelphia Phillies. The outing package includes four game tickets in the Hall of Fame club level at Citizens Bank Park and pre-game dinner with and a personally guided tour of the stadium by General Manager Pat Gillick.
“Pat was the GM in Baltimore when the Orioles drafted Joel,” Stephens said. “He was very good to Joel and our family and quickly offered to help when we asked for something special for our 10th anniversary tournament.”
Raffle tickets are $1 or six for $5 and will be available from any tournament committee member and participating teams before the tournament and at Shaute Field during the first two days of the tournament.
“The support and generosity of area businesses, organizations and individuals is what makes this tournament possible,” Stephens added. “Citizens & Northern Bank and Mansfield University have been with us from the beginning and are our presenting sponsors. We thank them and everyone who makes this tournament so special. And a very special thank you to the volunteers who give their time to make the tournament happen.”
The Joel Stephens Invitational features four divisions. Each division winner advances to the semifinal to compete for the Joel Stephens Trophy on Sunday, July 6. The four division runner-ups will compete for the Josh Palmer Trophy.
The official opening ceremonies will take place on Friday, July 4, at 2 p.m. at Shaute Field and will feature the parade of teams, as well as special presentations and a tribute to Joel Stephens.
For a full tournament schedule and other information, check online at gomounties.com