Athletes from over 20 Native American tribes to compete in D-backs Inter-Tribal Baseball & Softball Youth Tournament, culminates with Native American Recognition Day this Saturday

June 12th, 2024

The Arizona Diamondbacks will celebrate our Native American communities this week with the 24th annual Inter-Tribal Tournament presented by Talking Stick Resort, which began last night and runs through Friday. The tournament, also supported by Resolution Copper and Nike, will culminate with a closing ceremony on Saturday, June 15 with a captivating celebration of our local Native American culture, featuring entertainment and exhibits from tribes throughout the stadium, during the team’s Native American Recognition Day presented by Talking Stick Resort.

The Inter-Tribal Tournament will see more than 1,000 young athletes representing over 20 Native American tribes from Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and California competing in games at Salt River Fields and other local complexes, stretches over the next four days with Semifinal and Championship games this Friday, June 14.

The one-of-a-kind tournament was launched in 1999 to provide kids from rural tribal communities the unique opportunity to play on Major League-caliber fields, as well as to showcase the incredibly talented baseball and softball players that often hail from these tribes but are often not given the recognition they deserve. Tribes represented in the tournament include Choctow, Cochiti Pueblo, Gila River, Navajo, Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, White Mountain Apache amongst many others.

Saturday’s celebration of our local Native American culture is a must-see event and fans are highly encouraged to come early to enjoy the pregame ceremonies and many performances including drum groups, dancers, vocalists, art displays and educational displays. The D-backs will welcome Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community council members during a pregame recognition. Tamara Hayes, a member of the community and 25-year team member of presenting partner Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch as will Boys & Girls Club Red Mountain Branch youth of the Year nominee Jordan French Jr. The Salt River Police Department will serve as Color Guard. Performances include traditional dance from Standing Horse Dancers, Guardians of the Grand Canyon Ram Dancers, Pee-Posh Bird Singers and Dancers and many more. For tickets and more information visit

Robert Villegas has been a coach with the tournament for the past 17 years and returns to coach alongside his daughter, Alexis, who was named the tournament’s original girls’ MVP in 2006 when Robert’s team won the inaugural championship. Robert has been involved with soft pitch softball for the past 33 years, both playing and coaching, and has coached for Salt River Indian Community High School, South Mountain community college and Mesa Community College. Over the years, he has sought out and welcomed new players from different tribes to experience the joys and benefits he received when he first started playing softball years ago. Robert is a champion of the tournament in the literal sense and of its importance and value to the Native American community. For many of these young athletes, he believes softball provides an outlet to a better future, and has seen it in real life, as many of his girls have gone on to college, with some of them even playing softball on the collegiate level. His own daughter, and now co-coach, went on to play at South Mountain College, where Robert was her pitching coach, and won a conference championship with Fort Lewis College.