Local youth baseball club to host big tournament this weekend

By KYLE KOTECKI

For the News Advocate

MANISTEE — Baseball fans in Manistee County need not worry about getting their baseball fix with the Manistee Saints off over the Fourth of July weekend. The Lake Michigan Lakers host a tournament this weekend for U-10, U-12 and U-13 teams.

The U-10 tournament starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, while the U-12 and U-13 teams begin at 9 a.m.

Founded in 2013, the Lake Michigan Lakers Baseball Organization is the brainchild of Nick Fortier, who sought to give Manistee County’s youth a means to play the game they love and hone their skills as they approach varsity-level baseball.

“I was volunteering in Little League and there were a lot of players that I saw a lot of potential in,” Fortier said. “I thought it’d be a good idea to start something a little bigger that our county has never seen before.”

The U-10 teams will be playing on the recently renovated field in the Village of Eastlake, while the U-12 and U-13 teams will play at the ballfields of Manistee High School.

Fortier also serves as the junior-varsity coach at Manistee.

Teams from all over the state are making the journey to participate in the round-robin tournament, which will field six U-10 teams, while U-12 and U-13 will both have four.

The U-12 tournament will be a one-day affair, while the U-10 and U-13 tournaments will wrap up Sunday.

The Lake Michigan Lakers organization is still in its relative infancy but has grown steadily and Fortier is happy with the way it is shaping up.

“We started at one 15-year-old team and now we’re up to a 10-year-old team, 12, 13 and then a high school team as well,” Fortier said. “So we’re up to four or five different teams now. Started from one and now we’re up to four or five.”

Fortier would like to see the Lakers continue to grow, however, for the sake of the community as well as Manistee’s varsity baseball program.

“We’re still continuing to look to build,” Fortier said. “The motivation just continues. We’re looking to build more and more each year and bring more people into Manistee County and also build a good program at Manistee High.”

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