It's tournament time on Cape Ann. Holiday Tournament time.
Both the Gloucester softball and Rockport baseball teams will be hosting tournaments on Saturday and Sunday featuring lots of local teams. Gloucester will be hosting the first annual BankGloucester Holiday Tournament while Rockport's tournament has become a Memorial Day weekend staple in the area, now in its eighth season.
The Rockport tournament, sponsored by Don Sudbay Motors and Jungle Inc., features a quartet of Cape Ann League Baker Division rivals doing battle at Evans Field in Rockport (3-15), Manchester Essex (11-5), Hamilton-Wenham (12-6) and Ipswich (4-13).
The Generals and Tigers open up the tournament on Saturday at 3 p.m. with the host Vikings and Hornets meeting at 6 p.m. Saturday's winners will meet in the finals on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. with the consolation game at noon.
All four teams have played each other twice in the regular season so there are no secrets between the league rivals. The tournament games, however, are all non-league contests.
Hamilton-Wenham and Manchester Essex are both 5-1 in head-to-head competition against the tournament teams, splitting the season series against each other. There is also a chance the two could split the CAL Baker title. Hamilton-Wenham has already clinched at least a share of the league title with a 12-4 record in CAL action, and Manchester Essex (10-4 in the CAL) can pull even with a win in its final two league contests next week.
Ipswich is 2-4 and Rockport is 0-6 in head-to-head action against the field. The tournament, however, has seen its fair share of upsets over the years, including last season where Rockport knocked off the CAL Baker and eventual Division 4 North champion Generals in the opening round.
Manchester Essex has dominated the tournament since it debuted in 2012, winning four times, including three of the last four years and the last two. Hamilton-Wenham has won the tournament twice in 2014 and 2016 while Rockport won in 2013.
In Gloucester, the softball team will be hosting the first annual BankGloucester Holiday Tournament, and it features three teams that the hosts aren't so familiar with. Two of them play close by in Hamilton-Wenham, which enters at 2-14, and Ipswich, which is essentially playing for its season this weekend at 7-7. The tournament also welcomes Arlington, a strong program from the Middlesex League that has qualified for the state tournament with a record of 11-4.
Gloucester (13-3) and Ipswich open up the tournament on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Gloucester High School with Hamilton-Wenham and Arlington meeting in the late game at 5. Saturday's winners will meet in Sunday's final at 5 p.m. The losers play in the consolation game at 3.
Gloucester and Arlington are sizable favorites in the first round, which could set up a very interesting championship. The Division 2 North State Tournament will be crawling with Middlesex League teams, so a Fishermen vs. Spy Ponders final could be a really good barometer for the hosts as the postseason approaches.
Holiday Tournament Schedule
BankGloucester Holiday Softball Tournament
SATURDAY, MAY 25
Gloucester vs. Ipswich (3 p.m.)
Hamilton-Wenham vs. Arlington (5 p.m.)
SUNDAY, MAY 26
Consolation Game (3 p.m.)
Championship Game (5 p.m.)
Rockport Memorial Day Baseball Tournament
SATURDAY, MAY 25
Ipswich vs. Hamilton-Wenham (3 p.m.)
Rockport vs. Manchester Essex (6 p.m.)
SUNDAY, MAY 26
Consolation Game (12 p.m.)
Championship Game (2:30 p.m.)
Rockport Memorial Day Baseball Tournament Champions
2018- Manchester Essex
2017- Manchester Essex
2015- Manchester Essex
2012- Manchester Essex