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Western Nevada to host Joe DiMaggio Series

Carson City has become synonomous with high level baseball, so it was only a natural fit that a tournament with the name of one of the legends in the game would be played here.

The Joe DiMaggio World Series will be played here, beginning today as eight top level teams from Northern California and Nevada will compete for the title. Western Nevada College’s John L. Harvey Field will be where all the tournament games are played.

The tournament begins today at 5 p.m. with event host the Sierra Sun Devils playing South Peninsula, Calif., champion San Carlos. The tournament continues with first round games on Friday with North Peninsula champion San Bruno playing the Galena Spartans at 3:30 p.m., the North Bay East champion Tri-County Gamblers playing Mendocino, Calif., at 10 a.m. and San Francisco’s Trinity Maintenance playing Vallejo, Calif., at 12:45 p.m.

The Spartans earned a berth in the tournament by winning the Joe DiMaggio State event while the Sun Devils received an automatic berth into the tournament as the event’s host.

Nick Kuster, Nevada representative on the Joe DiMaggio board, said it made since to hold the tournament in Carson City since the town has always been a strong baseball community. He also said the chance for the teams to play at a college ballpark like John L. Harvey Field was another attraction. Kuster said the Carson-Reno-Tahoe area was another draw for the tournament. “You can’t get better than that,” Kuster said.

Kuster, a long-time coach at Wooster, began the Sun Devils program and as their coach led the Sun Devils to the 2002 and 2003 World Series titles. The Sun Devils were also the World Series runners-up in 2004 and former Dayton star and current University of Nevada star Matt Bowman was the World Series most valuable player that year.

All of the teams in this week’s tournament were able to pick up other players from their leagues to fill out their 21-man rosters. With the ability to pick up additional pitching, most of the top pitchers in the event should throw in the high 80s and low 90s, Kuster said.

He said his Sun Devil teams faced the Gatorade Northern Nevada High School Player of the Year for two straight years.

It’s an obvious advantage for Western Nevada to host the World Series, displaying its facilities to prospective players. One of Western Nevada’s assistant coaches, Aaron DeMosthenes was involved in the Sun Devils program.

It’s also a chance for the players to display their skills for Western Nevada and others as well. Kuster said other college coaches, including Nevada’s Gary Powers, and professional scouts should attend the event.

While the event is a double elimination tournament, with the championship round to be played on Tuesday, Kuster said there’s no room for letdowns. “They’ve got to have their A games every day,” said Kuster about the teams in the tournament.

“They’re just a bunch of good baseball people,” Kuster also said about the Joe DiMaggio League. “They just want you to play baseball.”

The Sun Devils and Spartans both figure to make runs at the titles, but both have received tough draws in the opening round. San Carlos is a traditional power and San Bruno beat last year’s World Series champion, Pacifica, to advance to this week’s event.

The Spartans feature a roster of players from this past season’s Galena team that finished as the NIAA 4A State runner-up, including Washington State-bound Eric Maupin and High Desert League Player of the Year J.D. Peters.

Kuster said the Spartans remind him of his 2002 Sun Devils squad. Many of the players on that team came from the Wooster squad that won the state title.

Sun Devils coach Nick Royle has been able to put together a roster that includes Carson High graduate David Leid and Douglas graduate Roman Davis, who have split the catching and designated hitter duties. Among those on the mound are Chris Garcia, Dayton’s Cory Yoder, Wooster’s Scott Greene and Jeffrey Fisher-Gasper and the state’s top 2A players, Lovelock’s Wil Schumacher, who was one of the state’s top pitchers at any level. Other local players on the roster include Douglas High’s Phil Mannelly and Niko Saladis.

The Sun Devils’ highlight this summer came when they won a high level wood-bat tournament in Medford, Ore.