OTL swings into action for annual sandfest
by JOHNNY MCDONALD
Jun 26, 2014 | 887 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Teams of men and women are getting fired up for the annual Over-the-Line Tournament at Fiesta Island over two weekends on July 12-23 and July 19-20. 					Photo by Jim Grant
Teams of men and women are getting fired up for the annual Over-the-Line Tournament at Fiesta Island over two weekends on July 12-23 and July 19-20. Photo by Jim Grant
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Let the frolic and games begin for the 61st installment of the Old Mission Beach Athletics Club (OMBAC) Over-the-Line championship, but with an asterisk.

The city’s asterisk: everyone attending or participating must be over 21.

The two-weekend ball-and-bat double elimination jousts begin the weekend of July 12-13 on the sands of Fiesta Island when contenders flex their muscles.

Games start at 7:30 a.m. and continue until dark each day.   

Survivors from the first weekend will pair up with seeded veterans who were excused from early competition. That set of rounds take place July 19-20.

Tournament veteran and champion Brent “Thorney” Thornton will arrive from Milwaukee to compete in the men’s open division, with Stan Sutton from Arizona and local Mike Farrell to complete their team. 

Publicist Sonny Peterson said the field of close to 1,300 teams has been reduced by 15 to 20 underage entries.

Peterson said the 40-year-olds category features some of the most seasoned and skilled players in the tournament — some say its the toughest division of all.

But there is plenty of action to go around in all categories.

Camille Medina, winner of 12 women’s open-division titles and one Canalways division crown, and her daughter Marisa Tirri, winner of four women’s open-division titles, as well as Barb Chaub, winner of two OTL titles, and her daughter, will be back.

There are six men’s and four women’s divisions. All but the open division have age requirements.

The first weekend’s games are three innings only. The second weekend will stretch to four innings.    

Fans this time will be restricted inside the playing area, now classified as the “beer garden.”

Over-the-Line is a public event and requires no ticket or entrance fee to watch the games and enjoy the tournament.

It’s billed as a world championship because teams from South America, Japan and Iceland have been entered in the past.

“There will probably be 100 teams from Arizona,” Peterson said. “Others have been entered from Nevada and Northern California.”

Again, a beauty contest will determine this year’s reigning Miss Emerson. 

Over -the-Line is a modified form of softball played on sand between two three-player teams with no base running. The team at bat furnishes its own pitcher. 

The object of OTL is to hit a pitched ball “over the line” about 18 yards in front of the batter, with just the right stroke of something between a baseball and golf swing within the “foul” lines that roughly measure at 18 yards wide and extend without border.

It is a one-of-a-kind event invented by “beach rats” and played by men and women up to even 70-plus years of age under  rules dreamed up by men who lived at the beach.

Part of the tradition are the unmentionable team names that might also go “over the line.”    

Many have commented that this event is one of Southern California’s last traditions that is pure and untouched by commercialism.

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