The Grand Prairie Classic falls at an odd time on the schedule for high school baseball teams.
Most teams are well into district play by the time this weekend’s 16-team tournament rolls around.
It wasn’t always that way. The tournament spot on the calendar has remained the same, but over the years district play has started earlier and earlier.
Even if some entrants hold back top-line pitching for next week’s district games, the tournament still provides a good opportunity to test pitching depth and get the bats going. That and the combination of warmer weather and friendly hitter's dimensions usually produce high-scoring games.
Pool play begins at 1 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
Games will be divided between Grand Prairie’s Turner Park and South Grand Prairie’s Warrior Field.
The field is divided into four pools of four. The pool winners will play in semifinals at 6 p.m. Saturday. The winners meet in an 8:30 p.m. championship game at Turner Park. The losers will play a third-place game at Warrior Field.
Four-time defending champion Rowlett chose not to return this season.
Entrants traveling the greatest distance this season are El Paso Montwood and Norman (Okla.) North.
Montwood is in Pool A along with Grand Prairie, Fort Worth Eastern Hills and Fort Worth Country Day. Pool games will be at Turner Park.
Pool B: South Garland, Norman North, Lake Highlands, Cedar Hill (Turner Park)
Pool C: Duncanville, Dallas W.T. White, North Mesquite, Garland (Warrior Field)
Pool D: South Grand Prairie, Arlington, Mesquite, Fort Worth Arlington Heights (Warrior Field)
Grand Prairie coach Jon Rustenhaven listed Arlington Heights, South Grand Prairie, Norman North and Montwood as favorites.