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Tournament History



Founded by Mike Morrow and Les Cassie, in 1951, The San Diego Downtown Lions High School Baseball Tournament is the Oldest and Largest High School Tourney in the United States. Traditionally held in the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, games are played for four days by 128-144  high school varsity teams at fields all over San Diego County. With over 8 divisions that cover all skill levels, we have teams ranked in the top 25 in the nation to teams that come from schools with less than 100 students.  One national baseball publication ranked the San Diego Lions Tournament as the fourth best in the nation just behind the Boras Tourney and the National Invitational in South Carolina. MaxPreps ranked us Number 5 in the United States.

Les Cassie played and coached Ted Williams in high school at San Diego’s Hoover High School. It has been reported that Williams only attended Hoover because he did not think he was good enough to play for Mike Morrow at San Diego High School. Cassie went on to replace Morrow at San Diego High when Morrow moved on to coach the University of San Diego baseball squad.

As the story goes, San Diego schools were having trouble funding teams to participate in spring break tournaments in Riverside, CA. and Los Angeles.  Mike Morrow was a Lions Club member. He and  Cassie asked the Downtown Lions club to fund various high school teams at the different tournaments. Since funding government entities were prohibited by the Lions club charter at that time, it was decided that the Lions Club would sponsor a tournament in San Diego.

Back in 1951,  the site of the current San Diego Convention Center was a U.S. Navy facility which housed recreation services and ferry services to transport sailors to ships anchored in the bay and to the various bases located in Coronado. Near the ferry dock were 4 pristine baseball fields known as Navy Fields. The Lions leased the four fields and held an 8 team tournament consisting of 8 local high schools: La Jolla, Pt. Loma, Grossmont, Sweetwater, San Diego, Hoover, University High School and St. Augustine.

The tournament grew through out the 1950's to end the decade with 24 teams from throughout the county. The 1960's brought the tourney up to 36 teams. There were 48 teams participating until the mid 1980's when out of town teams started to regularly attend. Under the leadership of Lions Jim Gordon, Bob Hinshaw, John Netterblad, Ray Hummel, Jim Rice and a host of others, the Lions tourney jumped to 80 - 88 teams by 1995. We cracked the 100 team mark around the turn of the century. Coaches Dick Serano at University High and John Baumgartner at Hilltop High lent expert assistance to the tourney in the area of seeding and scheduling. Mission Bay High and Cal State San Marcos Coach Dennis Pugh took over seeding and scheduling after the Serano and Baumgartner retired.

Under the tutelage of Bob Hinshaw, San Diego Superior Court Judge Peter Gallagher took the reins as tournament chairman in 2003. With assistance from Lions Charlie King, Charlie Silveria, Mike Hernacki, Sharon Mendenhall, Pam Wilmoth-Carlson, Jean Liuzzi, Ron Kempf, Jim Lagrone and a host of others, the tourney has morphed into a monster event with up to 144 teams from the western states depending on the availability of fields due to spring break. We play all of our games all over San Diego County at every high school field that is available. We have also held games in Imperial, Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles counties on occasion.

We have held our semi finals and finals at some of the best fields in San ‎Diego County....usually college fields, San Diego State, University of ‎San Diego, Pt. Loma Nazarene (great field on a bluff overlooking the ‎Pacific Ocean), Southwest College, Grossmont College, San Diego Community College and Mesa College. The college fields are contingent on ‎the schedules of the university teams. Sometimes they are ‎home...sometimes they are away.‎

We usually have 60% of the field from San Diego County. The other 40% ‎comes from both Northern and Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Alaska ‎and sometimes back east. In the past few years we had teams from Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York and ‎Georgia.‎


We work really hard to make our divisions competitive. Depending on the ‎amount of teams... we have 8- 10 divisions. We try to match the best teams from San Diego with the ‎best teams from out of town. We have a coaches meeting to seed the ‎teams. We have contact with prep newspaper reporters in various cities,‎(Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Oakland-San Francisco) in ‎order to give us information about the various teams for seeding ‎purposes.‎ Other than the smallest Division, we usually have teams in the same conferences avoiding each other until the finals.


From the Lions Tournament Today…to the Major Leagues Tomorrow.

The Lions Invitational, held every year since 1951, has produced many ball players who went on to the major leagues.

Like the boys in this year's tournament, they played baseball in high school and dreamed of one day making it to “The Show.” Here are the names and schools of those who made their biggest dreams come true.



Mike Adamson (Point Loma)        Baltimore Orioles: 1967-1969

Troy Afenir (Escondido)                 Houston, Oakland, and Cincinnati: 1987-1992

Brady Anderson (Carlsbad)          Boston, Baltimore and Cleveland: 1988-2002

Eric Anthony (Mt. Carmel)            Houston, Seattle, Cincinnati, Colorado, LA Dodgers: 1989-1997

Steve Baker (Monte Vista)            Detroit, Oakland, St. Louis: 1978-1987

John Balaz (Point Loma)                 California Angels: 1974-1975

Darren Balsley (Mt. Carmel)         (Pitching Coach)  Padres: 2003--

Brian Barden (St. Augustine)       Arizona, Miami: 2007-2010

John Barnes (Granite Hills)            Minnesota: 2000-2001

Billy Beane (Mt. Carmel)                 NYM, Min, Detroit, Oak 1984-89

Gary Beare (Kearny)                       Milwaukee: 1976-1977

Andrew Bellatti (Steele Canyon) Tampa Bay: 2015

Quinton Berry (Morse)                  Milwaukee, Detroit, Boston, Baltimore, Chicago Cubs: 2012-2015

Rigo Beltran (Point Loma)             St. Louis, Montreal: 1997-2004

Bruce Billings (Morse)                    Colorado, Oakland, New York Yankees: 2011-2014

Tim Blackwell (Crawford)              Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Montreal: 1974-1983

Hank Blalock (Rancho Bernardo) Texas, Tampa Bay: 2002-2010

Brett Bochy (Poway)                       San Francisco: 2014-2015

Bob Boone (Crawford)                   Philadelphia, California, Kansas City: 1972-1990

Thad Bosley (Oceanside)               Calif., Chicago (AL and NL), Milwaukee, Kansas City, Texas: 1977-1990

Mike Bovee (Mira Mesa)               California: 1997

Steven Brault (Grossmont)           Pittsburgh: 2016

Matt Bush (Mission Bay)                Texas Rangers: 2016

Jeff Byrd (El Capitan)                       Toronto: 1997

Trevor Cahill (Vista)                         Oakland, Arizona, Atlanta, Chi. Cubs, San Diego, Kansas City: 2009-2017

Troy Cate (Fallbrook)                      St. Louis: 2007

Chris Chambliss (Oceanside)       Cleveland, New York Yankees: 19711988

Eric Chavez (Mt. Carmel)               Oakland, New York Yankees, Arizona: 1998-2014

Matt Chico (Fallbrook)                   Washington: 2007-2010

Bob Christian (Helix/El Cajon)     Detroit, Chicago: 1968-1970

Tony Clark (Christian/Valhalla)    Detroit, Boston, NYY, NYM, Arizona, San Diego: 1995-2009

Brooks Conrad (Monte Vista)      Oakland, Atlanta, Milwaukee, San Diego: 2008-2014

Kevin Correia (Grossmont)           San Francisco, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Minn., LAD, Philadelphia: 2003-15

Dave Cortes (Central Union)        Atlanta, Cleveland, Colorado: 1999-2006

Fernando Cortez (Helix)                 Tampa Bay, Kansas City: 2005-2007

Jerry DaVanon (Hoover)                San Diego, St. Louis, Baltimore, California, Houston: 1969-1977

Mark Davis (Hoover)                       California Angels 1991

Mike Davis (Hoover)                       Oakland, Los Angeles Dodgers: 1980-1989

John D'Acquisto (St. Augustine) San Fran., St. Louis, San Diego, Montreal, California, Oakland: 1973-82

Jack Daugherty (Kearny)                Montreal, Texas, Houston, Cincinnati: 1987-1993

Joe Davenport (Santana)               Chicago White Sox, Colorado: 1991-2001

Alex Dickerson (Poway)                 San Diego: 2015--

Lance Dickson (Grossmont)         Chicago Cubs: 1990

Kerry Dineen (Chula Vista)            New York Yankees, Philadelphia: 1975-1978

Kyle Dowdy (Francis Parker)        Texas Rangers 2019 - 

Dave Duncan (Crawford)               Kansas City/Oakland, Cleveland, Baltimore: 1964-1976

Steve Dunning (USDHS)                 Cleveland, Texas, California, Montreal, Oakland: 1970-1977

Allan Dykstra (Rch Bernardo)       Tampa Bay: 2015

Larry Elliot (Hoover)                        Pittsburgh, New York Mets: 1962-1966

Jesse English ( Rch Buena Vista) Washington: 2010

Dave Engle (Crawford)                   Minnesota, Detroit, Montreal, Milwaukee: 1981-1989

Cecil Epsy (Point Loma)                  Los Angeles, Texas, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati: 198301993

Phillip Evans (La Costa Cyn)          NY Mets, Chi Cubs, Pitts: 2017 --

Al Fitzmorris (Madison)                 Kansas City, Cleveland, California: 1969-1978

Tom Fordham (Granite Hills)        Chicago White Sox: 1997-1998

Terry Forster (Santana)                  Chi. White Sox, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Atlanta, California: 1971-1986

Alan Fowlkes (Imperial)                 San Francisco, California Angels: 1982-1985

Mike Frank (Escondido)                 Cincinnati: 1998

Jim Fuller (Point Loma)                   Baltimore, Houston: 1973-1977

Greg Garcia (Valhalla)                     St. Louis: 2014 --

Geoff Geary (Grossmont)             Philadelphia, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, San Diego: 2003-2009

Bob Geren (Clairemont)                New York Yankees, San Diego: 1988-1993

Benji Gil (Castle Park)                     Texas, Anaheim: 1993-2003

Brian M. Giles (Kearny)                  NY Mets, Milwaukee, Chicago White Sox, Seattle: 1981-1990

Brian S. Giles (Granite Hills)          Cleveland, Pittsburgh, San Diego: 1995-2009

Marcus Giles (Granite Hills)          Atlanta, San Diego: 2001-2007

Troy Glaus (Carlsbad)                      Anaheim, Arizona, Toronto, St. Louis, Atlanta: 1998-2010

Adrian Gonzalez (Eastlake)           Texas, San Diego, Boston, Los Angeles, New York Mets: 2004-current

Edgar Gonzalez (Eastlake)             San Diego: 2008-2009

Brian Graham (Granite Hills)        Cleveland, Baltimore, Florida (coach): 1998-2001; Pittsburgh GM: 2007

AJ Griffin (Grossmont)                   NY Mets, Oakland, Texas: 2012--

Lee Guetterman (Oceanside)      Seattle, New York Yankees, New York Mets, St. Louis: 1984-1996

Anthony Gwynn Jr. (Poway)        Milwaukee, San Diego, Los Angeles, Philadelphia: 2006-2014

Cole Hamels (Rancho Bernardo) Philadelphia, Texas, Chicago: 2006-current *2008 World Series MVP

Aaron Harang (Patrick Henry)      Tex., Oak., Cincinnati, SD, LA, Seattle, NYM, Atlanta, Phila: 2002-2015

J.J. Hardy (Sabino HS, Arizona)    Milwaukee, Minnesota, Baltimore: 2005-2017

Mike Hartley (El Cajon Valley)     Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Boston, Baltimore: 1989-1995

Marcus Hatley (Mission Hills)       St. Louis: 2015

Eric Helfand (Patrick Henry)         Oakland: 1993-1995

Ken Henderson (Clairemont)       SF, Chi White Sox, Atl., Texas, NY Mets, Cincinnati., Chi Cubs: 1965-1980

Randy Hennis (Patrick Henry)      Houston: 1990

Matt Hensley (Patrick Henry)      Anaheim: 2004

Ed Herrmann (Crawford)               Chi White Sox, NY Yankees, California, Houston, Montreal: 1967-1978

Sam Hinds (La Jolla)                         Milwaukee: 1977

Tommy Hinzo (Hilltop)                    Cleveland: 1987-1989

Sam Horn (Morse)                           Boston, Baltimore, Cleveland, Texas: 1987-1995

Chad Hermanson (Grn Vly NV)    Pittsburgh, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles, Toronto: 199-2004

Chad Hutchinson (Torrey Pines) St. Louis: 2001

Mike Jacobs (Hilltop)                       New York Mets, Florida, Kansas City, Arizona: 2005-2012

Adam Johnson (Torrey Pines)      Minnesota: 2001-2003

Deron Johnson (San Diego)          NYY, Oak, Cincinnati., Atl., Phil, Milwaukee, Boston, Chi WS: 1960-1976

Randy Johnson (Escondido)         Atlanta: 1982

Adam Jones (Morse)                       Seattle, Baltimore: 2006-current

Jacque Jones (San Diego)              Minnesota, Chicago Cubs, Detroit, Florida: 1999-2008

Chris Jones (Granite Hills)              Houston, San Francisco: 1985-1986

Mike Judd (Helix)                              Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, Texas: 1997-2001

Scott Karl (Carlsbad)                        Milwaukee, Colorado, Anaheim: 1995-2000

Jeff Karstens (Mt. Miguel)            New York Yankees, Pittsburgh: 2002-2012

Eric Karros (Patrick Henry)            Los Angeles, Chicago Cubs, Oakland: 1991-2004

Joe Kennedy (El Cajon)                   Tampa Bau, Colorado, Oakland, Arizona, Toronto: 2001-2007

Mark Kiger (La Jolla)                        Oakland: 2006

Guido Knudson (Bonita Vista)      Detroit: 2015

Graham Koonce (Julian)                 Oakland: 2003

Josh Kroeger (Scripps Ranch)       Arizona: 2004

David Krynzel (Green Vly NV)      Milwaukee: 2004-2005  

Mike Leake (Fallbrook)                   Seattle, Cincinnati, San Francisco, St. Louis: 2007---

Gene Leek (Hoover)                        Cleveland, Los Angeles Angels: 1959-1962

Cole Liniak (San Dieguito)             Chicago Cubs: 1999-2000

Wes Littleton (Vista)                       Texas: 2006-2008

Esteban Loaiza (Mar Vista)           Pit., Texas, Toronto, Chi Sox, NYY, Washington, Oak. LA: 1995-2008

Donny Lucy (Fallbrook)                  Chicago White Sox: 2007-2011

Lou Marone (Lincoln)                      Pittsburgh: 1969-1970

Gene Martin (Central Union)       Washington Senators: 1968

Mike McCoy (Grossmont)             Colorado, Toronto: 2009-2012

Ray McDavid (Clairemont)            San Diego: 1994-1995

Mark McLemore (Morse)             Calif., Cleveland, Houston, Baltimore, Texas, Seattle, Oakland: 1986-2004

Dave Melton (Coronado)              Kansas City Athletics: 1956-1958

Corky Miller (Yucaipa)                    Cincinnati, Minnesota, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago White Sox: 2001-2013

Randy Milligan (San Diego)           NY Mets, Pitt., Balt., Cincinnati, Cleveland, Montreal: 1987-1994

Brad Mills (Mt. Miguel)                  Toronto, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Oakland: 2009-2013

Greg Minton (San Dieguito)         San Francisco, California: 1975-1990

Gino Minutelli (Sweetwater)       Cincinnati, San Francisco: 1990-1993

Keith Mitchell (Lincoln)                  Atlanta, Seattle, Cincinatti, Boston: 1991-1998

Kevin Mitchell (Clairemont)

Sergio Mitre (Montgomery)        Chicago Cubs, Florida, NYY, Milwaukee: 2003-2011

Sid Monge (Brawley)                      Philadelphia, CA. Angels, Cleveland, Detroit, San Diego: 1974-1984

Dave Morehead (Hoover)             Boston, Kansas City: 1961-1970

Eric Munson (Mt. Carmel)             Detroit, Tampa, Houston, Oakland: 2000-2009

Tony Muser (Clairemont)

Joe Musgrove (Grossmont)          Pittsburgh, Houston: 2016--

Bobby Natal (Hilltop)

Thomas Neal: (Poway)                   Cleveland, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs: 2012=2013

Graig Nettles (San Diego)              Minnesota, Cleveland, SD, NYY, Atlanta., Montreal 1967-1980

Jim Nettles (SD/Crawford)            Minnesota, Detroit, Kansas City, Oakland: 1970-1981

Kevin Newsom (Poway)                   Pittsburgh 2021

Al Nipper (Helix)              

Matt Nokes (Patrick Henry)          Colorado, San Francisco, Detroit, NYY, Baltimore: 1985-1995

Nick Noonan (Francis Parker)      San Francisco, San Diego: 2013-2016

Vidal Nuno (Sweetwater)             NY Yankees, Tampa Bay, Arizona, Seattle, Baltimore 2013---

Sean O'Sullivan (Valhalla)              LA Angels, Kansas City, San Diego, Philadelphia, Boston: 2009-2016

Corey Oswalt (Madison)                New York Mets: 2018--

Hayden Penn (Santana)                 Baltimore, Florida, Pittsburgh: 2005-2010

Alex Pelaez (Chula Vista)

Jason Phillips (El Capitan)              NY Mets, LA Dodgers, Toronto: 2001-2007

Kyle Phillips (El Capitan)                 Toronto, San Diego: 2009-2011  

Steve Phoenix (Valhalla)                Oakland: 1994-1995

Chris Piersoll (Carlsbad)                

Phil Plantier (Poway)                      Boston, San Diego, Houston, Oakland, St. Louis: 1990-1997

Todd Pratt (Hilltop)

Joe Price (Santana)                          Cincinnati, San Francisco, Boston, Baltimore: 1980-1990

Mark Prior (USDHS)

Danny Putnam (Rch Bernardo)   Oakland: 2007

Chad Qualls (Narbonne)

Carlos Quentin (USDHS)

Chuck Rainey (Crawford)              Chicago Cubs, Boston, Oakland: 1979-1984

Mark Redman (Escondido)           Minn, Detroit, Oakland, Pitt, Florida, KC, Colorado, Atlanta: 1999-2008

Kevin Reese (Mission Bay)            New York Yankees: 2005-2006

Mike Reinbach (Granite Hills)      Baltimore: 1974

Tommy Reynolds (Lincoln)            KC Athletics, NY Mets, Oakland, California, Milwaukee: (1963-1972

Chris Richard (USDHS)

Royce Ring (Monte Vista)             NY Mets, San Diego, Atlanta, New York Yankees: 2005-2010

Dave Roberts (Rch Buena Vista) Cle, LAD, Bos, SD, SF 1992-08; Mgr. Los Angeles : 2016 ----

Grant Roberts (Grossmont)         New York Mets, 2000-2004

Oscar Robles (Montgomery)       Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego: 2005-2007

Bruce Robinson (La Jolla)               New York Yankees, Oakland: 1978-1980

David Robinson (La Jolla)               San Diego: 1970-1971

Floyd Robinson (San Diego)          Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati, Oakland, Boston: 1960-1968

Jeff Robinson (SDHS/Christian)  

Sergio Romo (Brawley)                  Tampa Bay, San Francisco, LA Dodgers: 2008---

Mike Saipe (University City)

Tyler Saladino (University City)   Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee:2015 --

Alex Sanabia (Castle Park)             Miami: 2010-1013

Freddy Sandoval (Mater Dei)       California Angels: 2008-2009

Randy Schwartz (Helix)                  Kansas City Athletics: 1965-1966

Xavier Scruggs (Poway)                  St. Louis, Miami: 2014-2016

Rudy Seanez (Brawley)                  Cleveland, San Diego, LAD, Atl., KC, Texas, Boston, Fla, Phila: 1989-2008

Don Shaw (Helix)                              St. Louis, NY Mets, Montreal, Oakland: 1967-1972

Jose Silva (Hilltop)                           

Nelson Simmons (Madison)         Detroit, Baltimore: 1984-1987

Joel Skinner (Mission Bay)            Chicago White Sox, NY Yankees, Cleveland: 1983-1991

Ron Slocum (Helix)                          San Diego: 1969-1971

Dave Smith (Poway)                        Houston, Chicago Cubs: 1982-1990

Ray Smith (Lincoln)                          Minnesota: 198101983

Bob Spence (St. Augustine)          Chicago White Sox: 1969-1971

Shane Spencer (Granite Hills)      NY Mets, Cleveland, Texas: 1998-2004

Fred Stanley (Monte Vista)           Seattle Pilots, Cleveland, San Diego, NY Yankees, Oakland: 1969-1982

Steven Strasburg (West Hills)       Washington: 2010—

Brent Strom (San Diego)                NY Mets, Cleveland, San Diego, 1972-1977

Travis Taijeron (Granite Hills)       NY Mets: 2017

Jim Tatum (Santana)                       Milwaukee, Colorado, Boston, San Diego, NY Mets: 1992-1998

Mark Teahen (Yucaipa)

Gary Thomasson (Oceanside)     San Francisco, Oakland, NY Yankees, LA Dodgers: 1972-1980

Bob Thorpe (San Diego)                 Chicago Cubs: 1955

Ron Tompkins (Chula Vista)         

Alan Trammell (Kearny)                 Detroit: 1977-1990, Member of the Baseball Hall of Fame

Nick Vincent: (Ramona)                 San Diego: 2012

Tony Walker (Montgomery)       

Tye Waller (Hoover)                        Chicago Cubs, St. Louis, Houston: 1980-1987

Brian Walsh (Bishops)                    Milwaukee: 2007

Dan Walters (Santana)                   San Diego: 1992-1993:

David Washington (Uni City)        Baltimore: 2017

John Watham (St. Augustine)      (Player)Kansas City: 1976-1985; (Manager) KC: 1987-91, CA:1992

David Wells (Point Loma)

Ty Wiggington (Chula Vista)

Mark Wiley (Helix)                           Minnesota, San Diego, Toronto: 1975-1978

Dean Wilkins (Mira Mesa)            Chicago Cubs, Houston: 1989-1991

Eddie Williams (Hoover)                San Diego, Detroit, Chicago WS, Cleve., Pittsburgh, LA Dodgers 1986-98

Trevor Williams (Rch Bernardo)  Pittsburgh: 2016 ---

Mark Williamson (Mt. Miguel)    Baltimore: 1987-1994

Terry Whitfield (Palo Verde)        New York Yankees, San Francisco, LA Dodgers: 1974-1986

Tony Wolters (Rch Buena Vista) Colorado: 2016

Dick Woodson (Crawford)            Minnesota, NY Yankees: 1969-1974

Gary Woodson (San Marcos)       Oakland, Chicago Cubs, Toronto, Houston: 1976-1985

Austin Wynns (Poway)                   Baltimore: 2018---

Bradley Zimmer (La Jolla)              Cleveland: 2017 --

Barry Zito (USDHS)

Joel Zumaya (Bonita Vista)            Detroit: 2006-2011

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Want to participate in your local community? Become a  sponsor for Lions Baseball Tournament and support youth in your area.