History of the International Paper Baseball
The International Paper Baseball
Classic was the brainchild of Coach Mike Johnson who wanted an opportunity to
bring the top AAAA baseball teams of
for a pre-season tournament. Sponsorship
was solicited from International Paper Company, one of
ís major employers. International
Paper Company graciously agreed to be the primary sponsor, and the plan was put
into action in 1991 with Dr. Jim Owens serving as the Tournament Director.
The first International Paper Baseball Classic started with only four
. The four teams played a round
robin format with a total of six games with two being played on Friday night and
four being played on Saturday.
featured the hard-throwing pro prospect, Pep Harris, who was later drafted in
the six round by the Cleveland Indians. His
tournament record of eighteen strikeouts in a single game has yet to be broken.
was coached by Freddie Jordan who is now the head baseball coach at the
In 1992, the tournament grew to include six teams which began play on
Thursday evening and continued through Sunday afternoon.
In 1993, the field was expanded to include eight teams, and the cross
bracket format began. By 1994, the
tournament had built itself a national reputation and was expanded to include
two out-of-state teams. Because
dropped down to the AAA classification after the 1997 realignment by the South
Carolina High School League, teams from the AAA and AA divisions began being
included in the field of participants.
The year 1998 was a pivotal point in the International Paper Baseball
Classic as a Board of Directors was appointed, and Dr. Jim Owens resigned as
Tournament Director after the 1998 Tournament.
Mr. Bob Perry was named chairman of the Board of Directors and also
served as director of the 1999 Classic. Because
of so many great baseball programs in the state of
, the Board of Directors chose to go back to the basic premise upon which the
tournament was founded, to showcase
ís finest in high school baseball, and returned to inviting
teams only. In 2000, Ms. Alicia
Johnson became Tournament Director and is still serving in that capacity.
After the 2003 tournament, when the I.P. Classic championship game pitted
the AAA Riverside Warriors against the AAAA Summerville Greenwave, both of whom
when on to win the state championship in their respective classifications, the
Board of Directors decided to experiment with four team AAA bracket and a four
team AAAA bracket for the 2004 tournament. Since
going to the format in 2004, the International Paper Baseball Classic has hosted
the eventual state AAA and AAAA in 2004 and 2005.
went on to secure the AAA State Championship in 2006 and A. C. Flora won it all
in 2007. Hopes are that the eventual
AAA and AAAA State Champions are in the 2008 tournament field.