Rain or shine, firm ground or a lake of mud, the Slippery Banana Belt softball tournament, hosted by the Brookings-Harbor Adult Softball League, has drawn teams from all over Oregon to the rainy town of Brookings every winter for the last 30 years.
Last weekend, 43 teams came out for the annual tournament and were met with some uncharacteristically nice weather to start Saturday’s competition before the typical rain and fog set in to give the visitors a taste of the regular Brookings climate. Spectators and players braved the cold, wet weather; herds of deer even stopped by several times to see what all the commotion was about.
This year, teams traveled from Medford, Roseburg, Eureka, Salem and more to compete, with individual players coming all the way up from Southern California.
The “Rebels” from Grants Pass took first in the Women’s Upper Division, while “Top Shelf 101 Bar & Grill,” composed of players from Brookings and Medford, took second. The “Silver Bullets” from Grants Pass took first in the Women’s Lower Division, while “Mud Squad” from Cottage Grove came in at second place.
“Lead Off” from Medford took first place in the Mens Upper Division followed by “SJS” from Medford in second place. Two more Medford teams topped the Men’s Lower Division with “Silver Bullets” taking first place and “Gone Rogue” running up at second.
The winners of last Friday’s Home Run Derby were Bruce Sanford from Medford for the men’s competition and Brooke Toy of Coos Bay for the women’s.
Visiting players this year were relieved the field had firmed up considerably since last year, as the freshly resanded surface combined with heavy rain, had certain players up to their knees in mud and water.
“Last year the mud and water was so bad we nearly had people losing their cleats just trying to leave the dugouts, “ said Donovan Burgesse, who has attended the tournament with his team Demolition Crew for the past 22 years. “We travel all over, from Redding to Reno, and we always love coming out for the Banana Belt.”
All proceeds from the tournament go towards renovating and improving the softball fields and facilities at Azalea and Budd Cross parks. The current goal is to add lights to the field at Azalea.
The Brookings-Harbor Adult Softball League will hold their next tournament, All Dirt ‘n No Turf Banana Belt, in July or August with the exact date yet to be decided.