GFI: Seattle Studs return to the field for tourney
Over the past 30 years many baseball teams have made the trip to Grand Forks to participate in the Grand Forks International (GFI). From all over North America and beyond thousands of ball players have discovered this community and the Boundary area because of the GFI.
Many teams have made only a single appearance at the tournament while others have displayed their skills at beautiful James Donaldson Park on several occasions. When you look back over the history of the event Seattle is as much a fixture as any. In 1975 the Seattle Stoen won the first Grand Forks tourney and teams from the Emerald City would go on to capture the title four times in the first six years. In 2001 the Seattle Studs were the victors, the last time a team from the unofficial coffee capital of the continent has won the GFI crown. Founded in 1954 the Studs are one of the oldest semi-pro teams in US amateur baseball. They know what it takes to win and along with outstanding play exemplify class and respect for the game and for the fans. Their rosters over the years have been filled with ex-pros, and former and current college stars. In 2003, Brent Lillibridge was with the Studs in Grand Forks, now he plays professionally for the Chicago White Sox. The following year another University of Washington star travelled with the team to the GFI. In 2006 Tim Lincecum would be selected by San Francisco in the first round of the Major League player draft. Since then he has won back to back National League Cy Young Awards (top pitcher), only the fourth player to accomplish this. Barry Aden is Seattle’s manager. He was with the team from 1990-93 and from 2001 to the present. Barry has an impressive .710 winning percentage including a 51-7 won-loss record in 2010. The team recently finished second, out of 32 teams, in the prestigious National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita. Earlier in the season they won Canadian tournaments in Kelowna and Kamloops, breezing through undefeated. Players to watch on Seattle’s roster at the GFI include NBC All-Americans, shortstop Derek Jennings and relief pitcher Taylor Thompson. Thompson has pitched the last four years in the Kansas tournament and in 44.1 innings on the mound has allowed only one earned run. To accomplish this against some of the best amateur players in North America is truly remarkable. The Studs line-up will include former Toronto Blue Jays draftee, Luke Hetherington. He was a three sport athlete in high school. His high school coach said, “He’s just a tremendous athlete.” Former Western Oregon University standouts, Kyle Boe and Kevin Corrigan will also add some punch to the offense. Boe led his college team in hitting this year with a .365 average as did Corrigan in 2007, batting .367. In the championship game in Wichita this month Boe hit a grand slam and Corrigan a two-run homer in the same inning. The 30th anniversary year of Canada’s finest and richest invitational baseball tournament would not be complete without the Seattle Studs.