The inaugural Jackson Roos Memorial Weekend Tournament concluded on a high — if not dry —note, with the Kirkland American Little League Yankees winning the championship 14-4 over the Sno-Valley North Little League Nationals on Monday at Hartman Park in Redmond.
The Kirkland American team beat the Redmond North Little League Red Sox and Sno-Valley North topped the Eastlake Little League Cubs in semifinal games earlier in the day.
The three-day tournament featured more than 160 boys and girls on 14 teams from Redmond, Bellevue, Kirkland, Issaquah, Snoqualmie, Carnation, North Bend, Duvall and north King County.
The event honored Jackson Roos, who died at the age of 12 last September in an accident at his home in Redmond. Jackson was remembered throughout the weekend for his kindness, friendship, competitive spirit and love of baseball.
At a ceremony on Saturday, players assembled along the baselines at Hartman Field 1 to hear friends and family pay tribute to Jackson, his connection to Little League and its mission of teaching life’s lessons through baseball and softball.
“While he was fiercely competitive, Jackson truly excelled as a compassionate teammate and friend both on and off the field,” said Redmond North Little League manager Panos Panay, addressing the players. “This weekend, give your very best effort. Be kind to one another. That’s what Jackson and this tournament stand for.”
Surrounded by the Roos family, Redmond North Little League President J.D. Klein unveiled a plaque and announced that the large baseball diamond at Redmond Ridge Park will be named the Jackson Roos Memorial Field. Redmond North Little League is leading a community initiative and raising funds to replace the park’s dirt and sand fields with an all-weather synthetic turf surface for baseball, softball, soccer and other activities. The fields, pending funding, will be ready in spring 2014.
“We’re grateful to the Roos family for the opportunity to organize and run this tournament in Jackson’s memory,” Klein said. “I want to thank everyone who made the event such a success, including the volunteers, coaches, parents, umpires, our local Little League community and the City of Redmond Parks & Recreation. I also want to thank King County Parks & Recreation and council member Kathy Lambert for their support in dedicating the field at Redmond Ridge.”
Klein also announced that through registration fees and sales of T-shirts and “JR#10 Be Kind” car window decals, the tournament raised nearly $3,000 for a scholarship fund in Jackson’s name to be presented to kids who show great character and community impact.
Hosted by Redmond North Little League, the Jackson Roos Memorial Weekend Tournament will be an annual event held each Memorial Day Weekend. The competition will be geared toward Majors division players, who are typically 11 and 12 years old.
“This event will be a fun, competitive tune-up for the many Little League city and all-star tournaments that are played throughout June and July,” Klein said. “It’s also a time to remember a remarkable boy and to reflect on what youth sports are all about.”
“Our family continues to be amazed and humbled by the outpouring of love and kindness the Redmond community has shown us during these last eight months. The Redmond North Little League has been like family to us, and having a baseball tournament named in memory of Jackson is wonderful. He loved baseball. He was able to learn many life lessons from baseball and the coaches who were a part of his life,” Bryan Roos wrote in an email to the Reporter.
“The opening ceremony was a tender moment for us, and to find out that the Redmond Ridge ball field will take on his name is truly humbling and speaks volumes about what kind of an individual Jackson was and is. He continues to touch so many, and as a result, many have touched us. We want to say ‘thank you’ to Redmond North Little League District 9, and all of the Redmond community. This tragedy has brought forth so much goodness in people and represents what Jackson stood for — kindness.”
The 2013 tournament was sponsored by Little League Washington District 9 and included 10 area leagues: Redmond North, Redmond West, Kirkland American, Kirkland National, Snoqualmie Valley, Sno-Valley North, Bellevue Thunderbird, Eastlake, Issaquah and North King County.
The 2014 Jackson Roos Memorial Weekend Tournament is scheduled for May 24-26.