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By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

Those lights from Pioneer Park at 3 in the morning this weekend will mark the annual La Grande Optimist Club Mens Moonlight Softball Tournament.

The 32-team tournament starts at 6 p.m. Friday and runs non-stop through Sunday afternoons championship game.

Three fields will be used at Pioneer Park, but only Optimist Field will be used at night because it has lights.

Tournament organizer Randy Miles said 25 of this weekends teams are from out of town, some from as far away as Eugene, Boise and Portland. Each team is guaranteed three games in the double-elimination, consolation-bracket tournament.

Last weekend, Outback Tavern of Pendleton beat Steelhead Metal of Boise 9-3 to win the championship of the Coed Moonlight Softball Tournament.

That tourney, also with 32 teams, managed to survive Saturdays thunderstorm that showered puddles all over the fields.

Thats the first time in the 10 years that weve been doing this that we actually had to stop, Miles said. Weve had drizzles before, but nothing like this.

There were about 3 inches of water on the field when that was done. It put us back about two hours, but we caught up, I dont know how.

For the first time, the city is letting participants camp out at the park during the tournaments. Campsites were set up next to Veterans Memorial Pool and on the soccer field north of Optimist Field.

Miles said the coed tournament fared better because the fair was the same weekend.

Well probably always do the coed with the fair; it worked out real well, he said.

Working more with the city helped, too.

It was a lot more cooperative effort with us and the city than in the past, he said.

The tournament is the major fund-raiser for the Optimist Club, which funds several youth sports programs throughout the year. The La Grande High School volleyball team, for example, ran last weekends concession stand, and the La Grande Middle School Philly Trip will run this weeks concessions as a fund-raiser.

Last weeks results and all-stars are:

Champion Outback Tavern, Pendleton

Second place Steelhead Metal, Boise

Third place Rain Roofing, La Grande

Fourth place GCT Land Management, La Grande

Fifth place Everready, La Grande

Sixth place Graybeal Distributing, Pendleton

Seventh place (tie) Fleetwood I, La Grande; Psycho Scrubs, La Grande

Consolation Pirates Den, La Grande.

MVP Steve Cain, Outback Tavern

All-stars Megan Henderson, Shane Fredericks, Rain Roofing; Tonia Burk, Nate Butcher, GCT; Brad Allen, Everready; Kevin Nice, Psycho Scrubs; Chris Card, Fleetwood I; Nicole Lafarge, Graybeal Distributing; Stan Smith, Steve Nett, Heather Campbell, Steelhead Metal; Brenda Cain, Bobby Alexander, Outback Tavern.

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