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Tournament scheduled to honor Stewart

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By Chris Edwards
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COLMESNEIL – The bats are readying for a tournament honoring a legend of Texas high school baseball.

Colmesneil ISD is preparing to host the inaugural Ben Stewart Memorial Tournament, which will kick off on Thursday, Feb. 29 and last through Saturday, March 2. Seven schools are scheduled to play in the three-day tourney, which will take place at the ballpark named partially in honor of the late coach Ben Stewart, Jr. – Handley-Stewart Field.

According to Colmesneil Bulldogs baseball coach Lucas Snoe, there were some last-minute accommodations made to the schedule, but he hopes to see folks coming out to the ballpark to cheer on the Bulldogs.

Stewart, who died last December, was one of the most legendary coaches in Texas high school baseball history, with four state championship victories to his credit, and having led the Colmesneil Bulldogs to six appearances at the UIL State Baseball Finals.

He coached the Bulldog baseball team for decades, with championship titles in 1980, 85, 86 and 1990, which put him in the record books of Texas high school baseball as the coach with the most state championship rings, and as one of the first coaches with consecutive wins.

In the 1986 season, the ‘Dogs earned a 28-0 record defending their title under Stewart’s leadership. The Bulldogs baseball program also earned the titles of State Finalists for the 1979 season and Semi-Finalist in 1989.

His accomplishments on the diamond also earned him a place in the Texas Baseball Coaches’ Hall of Fame.

In 2019, the Colmesneil ISD baseball field was renamed to honor Stewart, as the Handley-Stewart Field, which also co-honored the late CISD administrator James Handley.

The action in the tournament will kick off early at 10 a.m. with Kirbyville’s JV team meeting up with the Sabine Pass Sharks. At noon, the Bulldogs will play Hull-Daisetta. Games at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. have North Zulch scheduled to take on the Sharks and the Tigers, of West Sabine, respectively.

The host Bulldogs will take on Sabine Pass on Friday, at 6 p.m. and Big Sandy on Saturday at 2 p.m.

The CISD athletics program has a memorial fund for Stewart’s memory that is ongoing. Those wishing to donate can send a contribution to PO Box 37, Colmesneil, TX 75938, or funds can be delivered to either Stewart’s daughter Dena Settlocker or CISD Athletic Director George Taylor to go toward the program, with the text “Ben Stewart’s Memorial” in the memo line for check contributions.


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