Aug. 30, 2004 – Puerto Rico won the Horace Clarke 15-16 Invitational Tournament over the weekend by defeating St. Croix on the Crucians' home turf. The two baseball teams advanced to the finals after eliminating teams from New York, St. Thomas and Tortola.
The action-packed tourney, sponsored by the Housing, Parks and Recreation and the Tourism Departments, ran from Friday through Sunday at Paul E. Joseph Stadium. Baseball fans packed the stands each night anticipating exciting games, and they were not disappointed.
Puerto Rico made several errors in the beginning of the final game, and it seemed St. Croix had the win in the bag. But the tide turned in the fifth inning, and Puerto Rico rallied back to defeat the home team 5-4.
In the semifinals, St. Croix defeated New York and Puerto Rico overpowered St. Thomas. Tortola was eliminated in an earlier game.
Kenny Jackson, coach of the St. Croix team, was disappointed by the loss but accepted it gracefully. "It would have been lovely to win," he said, "but it was a team effort. We win as a team and we lose as a team."
The tournament honored Horace Clarke, St. Croix native son and former New York Yankees switch-hitting second baseman. With the Yankees from 1965 to 1974, he played alongside such legends as Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Roger Maris and Thurman Munson. In 1974 he split the season between the Yankees and the National League San Diego Padres before retiring.
Clarke was hired by the Housing, Parks and Recreation Department in 1975 as a baseball specialist. Throughout the tournament he circulated in the stands talking to fans and signing autographs.
The games were carried live on WTJX-TV/Channel 12 and several radio stations.
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