Team Avenue of California happy to be part of Alaska Airlines Tour

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 8, 2014

Drawing interest from players all over the country, the Team Avenue Baseball Academy didn’t have trouble filling its roster for a trip to The Last Frontier.

“You really don’t have to sell Alaska,” manager Thomari Story-Harden told me. “Our players were excited about the opportunity. They knew if it wasn’t for baseball they probably would never come.”

The same could be said about Alaska Airlines.

The title sponsor for the annual Alaska American Legion tournament series provided teams with discounted tickets to make the long journey north more cost effective. The Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour makes stops in Fairbanks, Wasilla, Kenai and Anchorage.

Team Avenue, which is stationed in California but features players from multiple states, won the tour’s second stop at the Todd Ryan Memorial Tournament in Wasilla, beating the host team 4-2 in Sunday’s championship game.

That made the team 4-0 in Alaska.

“We feel blessed to have this opportunity to come to Alaska and experience such hospitable players and coaches,” Story-Harden said. “Our players left it all on the field and we ended up winning every game. The other teams really made us work for what we accomplished.”

The players from Team Avenue met for the first time in Los Angeles to catch an Alaska Airlines flight to Anchorage. They are from California, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Mississippi and Massachusetts.

“We have to gel in a short amount of time,” Story-Harden said. “It’s always seems as if it was meant to be. The players play as if they have been playing together since they were 5 years old. Very impressive to watch.”

Team Avenue is one of four Outside teams participating in the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament, which starts today in Kenai. The other visiting teams are the Strathmore Reds out of Alberta, Canada; Colchester, Vermont; and Columbia, Tennessee.

Columbia Post 19 was here two years ago.

Team Avenue already wants to come back.

“Alaska is the most beautiful place I have ever seen,” Story-Harden said. “We went out on a tour boat [Monday]. The glaciers and wildlife are breathtaking. I see why there are a lot of transplants from other states that move here. Our players have had a blast thus far. We hope to continue to experience Alaska’s greatness.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.