IP Classic named one of country’s best

  • Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Chris Sokoloski/Times Mike Johnson, at last year’s IP Classic, started the tournament in 1991. This year’s event will be the first without the legendary coach at the helm of the Bulldogs squad.

The International Paper Baseball Classic was recently named one of the top high school baseball tournaments in the United States.

Maxpreps.com, a website devoted to high school sports, placed the tournament in its top 10.

“You get to see the best of the best,” said first-year Georgetown High head coach Ben Waddle.

Georgetown senior Seth Wall praised the atmosphere at Mike Johnson Park during the tournament.

“Everyone in Georgetown tries to come out and support the great competition from different schools,” Wall said.

“Everybody wants to play here,” added fellow senior Riley Jordan. “We’re the big show in town,” said Georgetown senior Brandon McCants. “It’s all about us. Little town, Georgetown.”

The tournament was the brainchild of Mike Johnson, the legendary coach who retired last year after coaching baseball in Georgetown County for more than 40 years.

International Paper has been the tournament’s primary sponsor since the inaugural tournament in 1991. “We are honored and proud to be a part of this event, which we have sponsored for more than 20 years,” said Jeannine Siembida, mill manager. “The hard work of the volunteers and tournament staff make this event special, and it is great to see this recognition for their efforts, the tournament and for Georgetown.”

Four teams participated in the first tournament: Georgetown, Irmo, Lancaster and Stratford. At the time, they were the top Class AAAA teams in South Carolina.

Two more teams were added in 1992, and the schedule was expanded from Friday and Saturday to Thursday through Sunday.

The following year the tournament expanded to its current eight-team format.

This year’s tournament kicks off on Thursday at Mike Johnson Park. Georgetown plays Thursday at 4:15 p.m., Friday at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday at 4 p.m. Sunday’s championship schedule will be determined after Saturday night’s Georgetown game.

For a complete tournament schedule and preview, see page 8B.

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