The sport is a three-person, ball-and-bat contest matching the skills of 3,900 athletes from 7 a.m. to dusk on July 9-10 and again on July 16-17 on the sands of Fiesta Island. Again sponsored by the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club, the festive event with colorful team names is expected to attract about 55,000 sun-baked spectators.
OMBAC’s membership transforms Fiesta Island on those weekends, focusing on the 50 OTL courts assembled in the sand.
National interest has attracted entries from Canada, South Florida, San Antonio and Hawaii for 10 age divisions, which lure those even beyond 70 years of age.
But don’t be mistaken about the frolicking atmosphere. It takes skill to reach the finals.
“Those who have won in many (age) divisions before continue to come back,” said Ed Martin, public relations director for the tournament. “They may not always play on the same team every year.”
Martin said several have entered who are consistent trophy winners. There’s Tom Whalen and Merle Cummings, who have won 14 times, and Camille Magina, a 12-time victor in the women’s divisions.
Others who have won several OTL tournaments and are entered this year are Bob Mendoza, Scott Bello, Lisa McGowan, Linda Detrow and Stefanie Olow.
OTL is a modified form of beach baseball/softball. Games last three or four innings and the primary objective is to hit the ball “over the line” about 55 feet in front of the batter. This year’s double-elimination tournament features more than 1,300 three-person teams competing for trophies.
“Typically, if they’re a seeded team, they are going to end up playing five or six games,” said Martin. “If they’re in the loser’s bracket, they need to beat the team in the winner’s bracket twice.”
Although OTL is noted for fiercely competitive contests, as much interest is paid to the surrounding debauchery and off-color team names.
“Team names are traditionally creative and good-natured, but can sometimes be quite colorful, often pertaining to current events,” said Martin.
That may be why the event has not often drawn national television coverage.
Reserved parking is still available for both weekends, although supply is limited. The “OMLot” is located within a short walking distance of the playing courts.
OMBAC also provides complimentary bus transportation (dubbed the “OmShuttle”) to and from Fiesta Island during the first three days of OTL.
OMBAC is a 501(c) 4 nonprofit organization that focuses on amateur sports, youth athletics and local charities. OTL is the club’s main fundraising event.
For more information, visit ombac.org/over_the_line.