SBL 2019 Payson Invitational Victoria pitching

Action from the 2019 Payson invitational. The tournament returns with 32 teams this weekend as part of the three-tournament Home Runs for Vets Series raising money for Rim Country veterans organizations.

Thirty-two softball teams converge on Payson this weekend with the return of the Fourth Annual Payson Invitational.

The men’s and women’s tournament is Saturday, June 19, with game beginning at 8 a.m. on four Rumsey Park fields. There are five divisions in all, two men’s, two women’s and one co-ed. The co-ed division plays on Sunday, June 20.

This is the first of three annual tournaments in Payson with all proceeds benefiting local veterans organizations.

Rim Country veteran Joshua Lyon put on the Home Runs for Vets tournament in 2017 and a year later created the nonprofit Home Runs for Vets organization to raise money for local veterans, adding two tournaments to make it a three-tournament series.

The Payson Invitational started in 2018 and is held every June. Beat the Heat also started in 2018 and is held every August. Home Runs for Vets is the final tournament every year, held each September.

Lyon said they only had five teams in the first Home Runs for Vets tournament in 2017 and only eight the second year. “We tried to get teams but we just couldn’t get any teams,” Lyon said.

But things have changed. The tournaments regularly attract between 32 and 34 teams. Lyon said 32 is the entry limit he prefers.

Contact the reporter at kmorris@payson.com

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