Area baseball fans will have twice as many games to get them through the dog days of August, beginning tonight.
One of the North Shore’s summer traditions celebrates 30 years as the annual Ray Gallant Baseball tournament starts in Salem tonight. Over the bridge, Beverly Little League is starting a tradition of its own as the first Panther Little League Invitational begins at Harry Ball Field, also tonight.
Both tournaments feature five teams and a double-elimination format to be continued over the weekend with the finals slated for next Tuesday and Wednesday if necessary.
The Gallant, which is named for Ray Gallant, a Salem Little League coach who died at a young age, is hosted at Stephen O’Grady Field at Forest River Park and will be played with wood bats for the first time this year.
The tournament begins tonight with rivals Marblehead and Swampscott playing at 7. Lynn and Wakefield will play at 5:30 on Friday followed by Peabody against Salem at 7:30; Amesbury received a first round bye via blind draw.
Marblehead, the only local community that doesn’t formally play in Little League baseball (ie the district all-star tournaments) is a two-time defending champ in the Gallant Tournament. Lynn and Wakefield are new additions to the field after Beverly and Danvers opted for the Panther Invitational, and Peabody is actually fielding teams in both tournaments.
The Gallant tournament rosters are as follows: Salem: Lesandro Pacheco, Billy Beaureguard, Andrew Fournier, Aaron Fournier, Kyle Oullette, Bryan Palacios, Bryan Pena, Matthew Silva, Ruben Baez, Jayco Pena, Jhoan Vago, Jack Gilligan; Manager, Sean O’Keefe and coaches Steve Oulette, Jeff lajoe and Frank Baez.
Marblehead: Eli Cohen, Ryan Dombal, Chris Gally, Joey Feracci, Jake Granata, Jake Miller, Jacob Bornstein, Charles Ahern, Charlie Khan, Noah Dorsey-Sorofman, Max Freedman, Michael McEachern; Manager Greg Dombal and coaches Joe Kahn, Mark Cohen and Keith Gally.