The ball squirts free as a pair of players collide in a women's stickball match between Koni Hati and Beaver Dam.
The ball squirts free as a pair of players collide in a women's stickball match between Koni Hati and Beaver Dam.
By Steve Swogetinsky

Kemper County Messenger



The brackets for the World Series of Stickball are made up by a blind draw.

This year, the drawings put some of the traditionally strong teams playing in the first and second rounds of the single elimination tournament. According to stickball commissioner Thomas Ben, people were happy about that … some weren’t.

“We have been doing it this way for three years,” Ben said. “This is the way it came together.”

In the men’s division, defending champion Pearl River lost a 4-3 decision in the opening round against Beaver Dam, the team that won the championship in 2015. Beaver Dam has advanced to the semifinals by taking a forfeit win over the Plainsmen. On Wednesday night, they will play Koni Hata in the semifinals. In 2015, Beaver Dam defeated Koni Hata 3-2 to win the championship.

The participants in the other semifinal game was to be decided Monday night. Bok Cito was to play Unified which defeated Tiak Hikita in the opener. The Warriors and Tucker were to play to decide the other semifinal participant.

The finals will be played Saturday night at 10:30 p.m.

 Oka Homma, the defending women’s division champion, drew a first round bye and was to play Monday night. They are on the same side of the bracket with Bok Cito, the team they defeated 4-2 in the finals last year.

The women’s semifinals were set for Tuesday night with the finals scheduled to start at 11:30 p.m. Friday night.

The World Series of Stickball will continue throughout the week. The Men’s 35 and Over championship will be played Friday night at 10:30 p.m. The youth 14-17 championship is set for Saturday at 6 p.m.

Stickball is a traditional game for the Choctaw Indians which dates back for centuries. Instead of wars, disputes between communities were settled by stickball games. It is described as the little brother of war, and it lives up to its reputation each year. According to Choctaw information, games were first recorded in the 1700s, but most likely games were played much earlier.