COMMERCE — Brian Waybright has one concern taken care of and now comes another.
He said all 14 teams scheduled to play in the 19th annual Mickey Mantle Classic which runs April 2-7 are confirmed.
He had been concerned that some of the nine Oklahoma schools would unable to participate.
But administrations at all had given their respective athletic departments the green light to play on if there had been a prolonged work stoppage.
Now is the other worry, albeit a traditional one: the weather.
Heavy rains drenched Northeast Oklahoma earlier in the week. But it’s full speed ahead for the Lucky 7 Tournament, which was scheduled to start Thursday, March 29, at Quapaw.
The forecast is promising for the first half of next week: there’s only a 20 percent chance of rain on Monday and Tuesday, the first two days of the Mantle when three games are scheduled each day.
It’s supposed to be sunny Friday and overcast with only a 20 percent chance of rain over the weekend, giving Mantle Field a chance to dry out.
Throughout the years, the tournament has had to work around weather issues.
The 2008 tournament was scrubbed completely and the Triple Crown (large school) finals were cancelled in 2011 and 2012.
Oklahoma schools entered are Miami, Afton, Fairland, Quapaw, Wyandotte, Haskell, Tahlequah Sequoyah, Locust Grove and the host Tigers.
There are also four Missouri schools: Sarcoxie, McDonald County High of Anderson and the Neosho varsity and junior varsity.
While the bulk of the games will be played at Mantle Field, seven — and possibly more — will be played at Joe Becker Field in Joplin.
Mantle played there when a member of the Joplin Miners.
Former Yankee Bucky Dent will be the special guest this year.
Dent earned two World Series rings as the starting shortstop for the Yankees in 1977 and 1978. He was voted the World Series MVP in 1978.
His home run in a tiebreaker game against the Boston Red Sox at the end of the 1978 season is one of the biggest moments in the long Yankee-Red Sox rivalry.
Dent managed the Yankees for portions of two seasons, 1989 and 1990.
Tickets for the awards banquet, which will be held at First Christian Church of Miami, are $25 and can be purchased in advance at the field for $20.
Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the banquet begins at 7:30.
There will be live and silent auctions.
Game admission is $4 for adults and $2 for students.
Players use wooden bats that have a special logo and an image of Mantle.
Broken bats are sold as souvenirs for $20 each.
Only 12 dated and numbered bats are sold each year. Cost is $100 each.
The first bat in the series will be raffled at the tournament and No. 7 will be sold in the live auction.