Gross tourney starts today

A tournament named after a late baseball scout from Pine Bluff will begin today at Taylor Field.

The inaugural John Gross Memorial Tournament and Regional Showcase will feature seven baseball games through Sunday and a professional workout for high school players. Organized by Pro-Day Baseball, the tournament is named in honor of Gross, who co-founded the company with his brother Jeff and scouted with the Texas Rangers from 1989-93 and the Chicago Cubs from 1993-95. The Gross brothers were part owners of the Class A Pine Bluff Locomotives minor-league team that played during the 1996 season.

John Gross died in March 2012.

“Coach John is greatly missed,” Pine Bluff High graduate and former St. Louis Cardinals draftee Basil Shabazz said in a statement. “I played for him for three years in American Legion Baseball and he taught me so much about baseball. He along with his brother (Jeff) took me to so many professional baseball tryouts, since I didn’t play high school baseball ‘til my senior year. They were the reason that helped me get drafted.”

The Pine Bluff Tigers will play two games today, kicking off the tournament against Russellville at 3 p.m. and taking on Team Pro-Day, which includes an open roster of players from Pine Bluff, Crossett and across the South, at 7:30 p.m. Crossett will take on Team Pro-Day at 5:15 p.m.

Following Saturday’s professional workouts, opening ceremonies will begin at 1:30 p.m., followed by Crossett vs. Russellville at 2, Team Pro-Day vs. Russellville at 4:15 and Pine Bluff vs. Crossett at 6:30.

The championship game is at 1 p.m. Sunday.