Beaumont Coyotes Fourth of July tournament promises to be competitive

Written by Bob on June 30th, 2011

BEAUMONT, CA – David Valdivia says it gets harder each year finding enough teams, but as long as he can find eight or more, the Beaumont Coyotes Men’s Fastpitch Tournament will stay right on schedule – over the Fourth of July weekend – just as it has for the past 34 years.

The 66-year-old Valdivia – known respectfully and affectionately as “Señor Coyote” – has held the Coyotes Fourth of July Tournament since 1977 without missing a beat. And beginning Friday night at 6:30 the 35th edition of the popular southern California tournament will roll out at Rangel Park in Beaumont.

But unlike the heyday of men’s fastpitch in the 1970 and ‘80s, finding enough teams has become a bit harder each year because of the decline in the men’s game.

“It’s getting tougher to find teams each year,” Valdivia said. “I keep it going because of the community involvement; they look forward to it. The city (Beaumont) takes really good care of us. They put in new lighting for us last year.”

Although the tourney is down to eight teams from 10 last year, it figures to be competitive, says Valdivia. The defending champion Colton Dirtbags (2011 Las Vegas Road Trip NAFA A Champions in April) return and are part of a Friday night twin bill.

The Dirtbags meet the Pala Braves at 8 p.m. The Braves played in the 2010 NAFA World Series A Division in Des Moines, Iowa, and also in the 2011 California Classic in Santee. Pala fields a young, scrappy and competitive ball club.

Opening the tournament at 6 p.m. are the Soboba Beer Nuts and the Morongo Hostiles.

The remaining teams in the double elimination tournament include Morongo, The San Bernardino Aztecs, Corona Rebels, and of course, the Beaumont Coyotes.

The Coyotes truly are a family affair with the Valdivia name penciled in up and down its lineup.

There’s David’s sons David Valdivia, Jr. at third base and Nathan in left field; nephews Joe Valdivia playing first base and Aaron Morris in right field; brother Robert coaching…and the list goes on with a few of David’s grandsons playing here and there.

Truman Thompson is no blood relation to the Valdivia’s, but they embrace him as family nonetheless. The 70-year-old has been the ace of the pitching staff since the team began back in the 70s. And he will see some action in the circle again this year.

Helping out Thompson are a couple of “younger generation” pitchers in Frank Mestas and Randy Clay; not quite senior citizen status as Thompson, but these two veterans have been around awhile, and they still get the job done.

As for picking a tourney favorite, Valdivia said, “we’ve only had a couple of practices so I don’t know about the rest of the teams.”

But with the hometown fans cheering them on, you can bet the Coyotes will be in the hunt.

The tournament runs from Friday through Sunday. The famous Coyotes concession stand with homemade Mexican food will offer its array of burritos and tacos, with the taco plate a fan favorite.

Rangel Park is located at the corner of West 4th Street and Olive Avenue. From the I10 Freeway east, exit Sixth Street and continue to So. California Avenue and turn right; cross the railroad tracks and turn right on Olive Avenue and continue one block to Rangel.

From the I10 west, exit at Beaumont Avenue and turn right onto Beaumont Avenue, and then left on 6th Street to California Avenue. Turn left on California and proceed to Olive and the ball park.

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