Twins unveil plans for 1st girls baseball tournament

Plans for what is believed to be Minnesota’s first-ever girls baseball tournament have been announced.

The Minnesota Twins, St. Paul Saints and Baseball For All are planning to host the “Baseball For All Toni Stone Invitational” on June 11 and 12.

“We are thrilled to partner with Baseball For All to deliver an opportunity for girls in the region – both baseball and softball players alike – to play in Minnesota’s first-ever girls baseball tournament,” Nancy O’Brien, the Twins’ vice president of community engagement, said in a statement. “Providing girls with a chance to play and excel in the same game as their favorite Twins players is a wonderful way to continue the legacy of Toni Stone; to do so in the same month that Title IX turns 50 is truly inspirational for us and parallels our goal of removing barriers and providing equity in access.”

Tournament registration for girls ages 7 through 14 is now open, and the Twins say participants will be split into teams based on the 8-and-under, 10-and-under, 12-and-under and 14-and-under age groups. Registration is $75 per player ($50 for 8 and under) and also includes four tickets to the Twins game on June 10.

The tournament is scheduled to be played at Dunning Sports Complex in St. Paul, and each team will be guaranteed three games.

All tournaments affiliated with Baseball For All — a nonprofit that works to increase the presence and participation of women and girls in baseball — are named after famous women in baseball. Minnesota’s event will honor St. Paul native Toni Stone, who was the first woman to play in the Negro Leagues. Dunning Sports Complex, where the tournament will be held, also has a field named after Stone.

“My Aunt Toni would be flattered and honored to support this girls’ baseball tournament,” Maria Bartlow-Reed, the late Stone’s niece, said in a statement. “She used to say that regardless of how difficult the struggle might be, do it anyway, and after it is done, you’ll see what you’ve accomplished. Everything that my Aunt Toni fought for in the past is seen in this tournament today, with young girls having the opportunity to play baseball, while showing their strength and determination to succeed in the game.”

The tournament will coincide with MLB’s annual Play Ball Weekend — a collaboration between MLB, USA Baseball, USA Softball and other organizations that host and support youth sports.