Connie Mack City Tourney begins Monday

Karl Schneider
Strike Zone's Jake Taylor throws to Zac Van Duran at first base to get the out against ClubSox's Jeremy Griffith on July 5 at Ricketts Park in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — The Connie Mack City Tournament gets underway Monday and will see arguably the two best teams in the tourney playing each other in the first round.

Strike Zone, the 2014 tourney winner, and the 4-Corners ClubSox, last year’s winner, will meet in Game 2 of the week-long tourney after the two squads drew each other during a blind draw Thursday night.

“It’s a good opportunity. We have to beat (Strike Zone) if we want to win the tourney anyway, so we might as well try to do it the first night,” ClubSox’s coach Brycen Campbell said. “It will be a good time.”

The tournament has used a blind draw the past several seasons to determine the tournament’s bracket. The winner of the tournament receives an automatic bid into the annual Connie Mack World Series, which will be held July 29 through Aug. 6 at Ricketts Park.

During Thursday’s draw, coaches for the nine teams gathered in the press box at Ricketts Park and drew their first round matchups out of a hat.

Campbell said that entering Monday’s game, the ClubSox are eager to get on the field and begin their quest for the CMWS bid.

“They’re all just ready to play,” Campbell said. “Everybody waits all summer to get to this point and they’re ready to go. Everyone is excited and ready to get after it.”

The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Ricketts Park.

Game 1 will feature Naa’taanii, one of the other top teams in the league, versus the Fuel, a 16U team that competes primarily in the Mickey Mantle division. The game will be played at 5:30 p.m. at Ricketts Park.

Game 3 will see the Rivercats take on the Pumpjacks at 5:30 p.m. on Field 2 at the Farmington Sports Complex. The Rivercats roster is made up of returning players at Piedra Vista High School. The Pumpjacks are part of the Strike Zone organization and comprised of players from around the Four Corners. The game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Field 2 at the Farmington Sports Complex.

Brendon Charley pitches for the Pumpjacks during a game against the Rivercats on May 24 at Ricketts Park.

“We knew that no matter how the bracket worked out there weren’t going to be any easy games. It’s going to be good test for us and we’re hoping to jump right out of the gate with a victory,” Pumpjacks’ coach Nick Clayton said. “We’re focused on the Rivercats right now. I told the boys not to look forward. I think that’s the mindset we have to have.”

The Flat Bill Ducks will meet the Halos in Game 4, which will be played at 8 p.m. on Field 2 at the Sports Complex. The Ducks are made up of mostly returning players at Aztec High School, along with a couple recent graduates and one Farmington High player. The Halos’ young roster is made up of players from New Mexico and Arizona’s corners of the region, with most players set to return to their high school teams after the summer.

The KC Storm drew a bye in the first round and will play the winner of Game 1 at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Ricketts Park.

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.