By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — For the second year in a row, Ronni and Jesse Allen have opened their home to the Heartland Baseball Classic. Last summer, the Edmond couple housed 11 players from Team Colorado in their two-story home.
This year, the Allens outdid themselves by taking in the entire 16-man Colorado squad. The players have taken over the entire top floor.
In preparation for the tournament, the Allens rented a 19-passenger van to take the players to their games each day. The family’s pick-up truck is used strictly to transport the players bags.
Staying put: When the tournament championship is decided Saturday afternoon, the game will be played at Norman High, which is the way it’s been since the tournament changed its name from Sun Belt to Heartland four years ago.
In the six summers prior, the headquarters of the tournament had been Oklahoma’s L. Dale Mitchell Park. Despite it costing $1,000 a day to use, Heartland Classic president Sherri Rogers said it was a reasonable price.
However, when the Sooners began renovations on the ballpark, Heartland organizers had to find a temporary home. That’s when they brought Southmoore into the fold alongside NHS and Norman North.
Now, four years later, Rogers doesn’t see the tournament changing back.
“OU was good to work with,” Rogers said. “We enjoyed our time there, but we have developed a good relationship with Southmoore and decided to keep everything in place.”
Support: If fans look closely during Team Ohio games, they will notice a small sticker on the back of the team’s batting helmets. On the sticker is the state of Oklahoma with the words “Together” written inside of it.
“They are good people,” Rogers said.
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