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Cherry Creek's Jed Malashock, left, reaches for home plate but is tagged out by Woodward's Dylan Turner during the Tony Andenucio Memorial Baseball Tournament on Andenucio Field on June 15, 2018 [Chieftain file photo]Cherry Creek's Jed Malashock, left, reaches for home plate but is tagged out by Woodward's Dylan Turner during the Tony Andenucio Memorial Baseball Tournament on Andenucio Field on June 15, 2018 [Chieftain file photo]


Annual ’Nuch Tournament could be in jeopardy, again

BY JEFF LETOFSKY | The Pueblo Chieftain | AUG 12, 2020

One of Pueblo’s most iconic sporting events may have to move from its magicial weekend.

The Tony Andenucio Memorial Baseball Tournament, cancelled this past June because of the coronavirus pandemic, may not be played again next summer. At least, not on Father’s Day weekend where it’s been traditionally played.

The 10-team, four-day tournament that draws teams from all over the country, has been played at the Runyon Sports Complex for the past four decades. But it’s in jeopardy because the high school baseball season has been pushed to late June by the Colorado HIgh School Activities Association.

“My first thought was that’s not good for any summer program,” ’Nuch Tournament Director Joe Andencuio said. “The high school season is starting later than usual and moving into the summer.

“The first thing that came into my mind was maybe next year (The ’Nuch) becomes a Fourth of July weekend thing.”

Moving the annual tournament from its traditional Father’s Day weekend into July is one option.

“In my mind without pursuing it much yet, we need to see who is available to come in here in July vs. June,” Andenucio said. “If Oklahoma, Wyoming or New Mexico may not be affected with their summer programs. That’s something we need to find out.”

Teams like Cherry Creek and Elk City (Oklahoma), who have won nine and eight ’Nuch championships, make the tournament what it is. Out-of-state teams have includ clubs from Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Wyoming.

Longtime Cherry Creek coach Marc Johnson hopes the ’Nuch will continue in some fashion. His teams have played in all 40 tournaments.

Tony AndenucioTony Andenucio“It’s a sad thing from my perspective because I’ve been at the ’Nuch Tournament from the beginning and developed a close relationship with the city,” Johnson said. “Maybe they can do it in late June. I’d love to see them keep it.”

Andencuio said he’ll begin making plans in a couple months.

In the recent past, five Colorado schools have participate in the tournament with seven other from out of state. With the high school season in Colorado overlapping the ’Nuch, Andenucio is faced with a dilemma.

“Right now if you asked me today if moving to July is the only choice or not have the tournament again, that’s not something I want to entertain,” Andenucio said. “Lord willing, we can get it back to Father’s Day weekend for No. 42.

“I know CHSAA has already set their dates for next summer.”

Andenucio said playing on the Fourth of July weekend was his first option.

“We may have to play later in July depending on what everybody else is doing,” he said. “We’ll try and get a hold of everybody by the end of September and see what kind of plan is possible. We’ll take next year as it comes.”

Andenucio said he has no plans to cancel the tournament altogether and he’s willing to adapt.

“My biggest fear on this CHSSA thing is that they’ll like it and continue to run (high school) baseball into June,” Andenucio said. “I’m a traditional kind of guy. I’d like to keep the flavor of the tournament as close to the way it’s been.”

Johnson just hopes the tournament continues, Father’s Day weekend or not.

“I always look forward to it, it’s always had a great taste to it,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, they can make it work for me and the kids involved.

“It provides lasting memories and reminds me of the old saying, ’Trophies collect dust but memories last forever.‴

Scoreboard on Andenucio Field at the Runyon Sports Complex during the Tony Andenucio Tournament on June 15, 2018 [Chieftain File Photo]Scoreboard on Andenucio Field at the Runyon Sports Complex during the Tony Andenucio Tournament on June 15, 2018 [Chieftain File Photo]

Chieftain interim sports editor Jeff Letofsky can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at twitter.com/JeffLetofsky.

 

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