GFI team coordinator Steve Boutang takes a minute to chat with James Wilson, one of the GFI Guest Relations volunteers. Photo: Chris Hammett

GFI team coordinator Steve Boutang takes a minute to chat with James Wilson, one of the GFI Guest Relations volunteers. Photo: Chris Hammett

Grand Forks International baseball tournament a huge success

This was the first tournament since 2019

The Grand Forks International Baseball Tournament (GFI) from June 27 to July 3 was a big success for the community.

The tournament has been cancelled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2018 flooding also cancelled that year’s tournament.

Because only one tournament has been held in the past five years, this year’s GFI was a much-anticipated event for the community.

Steve Boutang, tournament chairperson, said that the GFI is important to the community both economically and socially.

“When you think about how tough the economy has been in Grand Forks for the last number of years, particularly since the flood year, to get that kind of an economic boost to the town is really quite important.”

Socially, the tournament is one of the biggest events of the year in Grand Forks. It allows people to come together in a way that we haven’t been able to for several years.

Eight teams from Canada and the United States came to Grand Forks for the tournament. The Seattle Studs won the final game against the Seattle Black Fins 1-0.

Boutang said that overall, the tournament surpassed his expectations for what it would look like coming out of the pandemic.

“This year’s tournament was phenomenal. It exceeded all of our expectations. The crowds were better than I expected, the fan support, the atmosphere of the ball park, it was tremendous.”

He stressed that volunteers are always needed for the GFI. Usually, the tournament needs about 200 volunteers. This year, 150 volunteers did the work of 200.

“I’m unbelievably grateful for the people that actually volunteered. And I can’t thank them enough, because without volunteers the tournament can’t run.”

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@audreyygunn
editor@grandforksgazette.ca

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