Assistant coach John Lauzer, far left, watches the rain water rise over his shoes as Menominee Red Wave players try to stay dry during a downpour at the U.P. Zone Tournament Friday. Friday’s games were rained out. Play will resume at 10 a.m. today. <br> EagleHerald/ Tom Kaeser
Assistant coach John Lauzer, far left, watches the rain water rise over his shoes as Menominee Red Wave players try to stay dry during a downpour at the U.P. Zone Tournament Friday. Friday’s games were rained out. Play will resume at 10 a.m. today.
EagleHerald/ Tom Kaeser
MENOMINEE - After two days of covering the American Legion U.P. Zone Tournament at Spies Field, the only PEDs I've seen are popcorn, energy and determination.

What a refreshing break from the steady drone of denials and half-hearted apologies from pro athletes who feel they have to juice up to reach their full potential.

Through 10 games of the Zone Tournament, I've watched young players strive to reach their potential by busting their butts, not by injecting a needle into it.

Instead of trying to pull down the biggest contract, these ballplayers spend the summer pulling for their teammates.

In a sports world where bigger, stronger, faster has become a mantra, the essence of baseball is still giving yourself up for the team with a sacrifice bunt or going the other way to advance a teammate.

There aren't any Barry Bonds muscle monsters wearing Legion uniforms this weekend at Spies Field, but there are plenty of normal-sized kids with big hearts who just love to play the game.

- Usually in a nine-team tournament you expect some mismatches. But in the first two days of the U.P. Zone Tournament, seven of the 10 games have been decided by one or two runs.

- Some of the Menominee players have added a road-trip feel to their home tournament by camping out in tents at Spies Field. Head coach Tony Hofer has parked his camper at the Red Wave's tent city.

- When heavy rain Friday started to flood the dugouts at Red Lacousiere field, the Kingsford players showed their initiative by constructing a dam to stem the flow of water into the Blues' dugout.

- Menominee, Escanaba, Kingsford or Marquette can clinch the final state tournament berth with two victories today. Gladstone and Hancock have already wrapped up state berths.

Today's Games

10 a.m. - Menominee vs. Kingsford (Red Lacousiere Field)

10 a.m. - Escanaba vs. Marquette (B.J.'s Field)

12:30 p.m. - Menominee or Kingsford vs. Escanaba or Marquette (B.J.'s Field)

3 p.m. - Hancock vs. Gladstone (B.J.'s Field)