PALMER — The Colony Days festivities brought in thousands of visitors to witness and take part in the weekend celebration.
The parade, family activities and food vendors drew people to Palmer for the annual event.
And there was also baseball. Plenty of baseball.
Palmer baseball fields hosted a coinciding celebration with The Colony Days Tournament on the Sherrod Ballfields hosted by Palmer Little League all weekend, a Mat-Su Miners doubleheader at Hermon Brothers Field on Saturday and two American Legion baseball games on the Palmer Senior Field on Sunday.
“I think it’s great. Especially with the amount of people that we had in town, you can’t beat having all those venues to be able to go play baseball,” said PLL President Dave Combs.
The eventual Colony Days Tournament champion Twins from Knik Little League were not the only visitors with success. The Mat-Su Miners fell to the Bucs in both games of a double header on Saturday. The Palmer Pioneers Post 15 AA American Legion team hosted the Post 35 Alaska Road Warriors for a non-league matchup on Sunday. Both teams came into the game without any losses early in the season. With much of the team fresh off a state title with the Wasilla Warriors, Post 35 won 4-3. The doubleheader on Palmer Senior field concluded with the Palmer Post 15 A team defeating Dimond Post 21 7-5.
The Mat-Su Miners scored twice in the bottom of the third when Tanner Carlson knocked in Justin Kirby and Anthony Notaro, but fell in the first game of their doubleheader 3-2. Justin Kirby knocked a home run over the left field fence in the bottom of the sixth in the 7 p.m. game, but Cole Tate scored for the Bucs in the bottom of the seventh to take the second game 2-1.
The Colony Days Tournament has been held at the Sherrod Ballfields for over two decades. Palmer Little League invites other Little League teams from the area to compete with the local ballplayers in the Majors division, ages 9 to 12.
“It’s been stupendous for us to do that. It’s really been us being able to add to our league,” said Combs.
Sturgeon Electric fended off a late comeback attempt from Palmer Chiropractic in the third-place game that featured two Palmer teams. The Twins, the only team playing a road game, beat Kiwanis 4-2 in the championship. Combs said the opportunity for the Palmer Little League teams to compete against ball clubs from outside of their own league helps in their development as players. Seven teams played in the weekend tournament, and Combs watched both the third-place game and championship from behind the plate as the home plate umpire. Combs said that increasing the amount of games in the season has also helped develop young players, including the Colony Days Tournament.
“Last year we went to 18 games instead of just barely 12 games during the regular season. It’s a noticeable difference in the level of play already,” Combs said. “As long as we keep this up, jump in on some comp tournaments, I really think the level of baseball is going to come up.”
Contact Frontiersman reporter Tim Rockey at email@example.com.