By Bob Behre

September baseball goes full throttle at Diamond Nation this weekend when the 57-team Grand Slam tournament grips the Flemington, New Jersey facility on Friday-through-Sunday.

The Grand Slam tournament will crown champions in five separate age groups -- 11U, 12U, 13U, 14U and 16U.

The 20-team 16U Grand Slam begins play on Friday when Rising Stars Baseball encounters Wladyka Baseball in one of three 6:30 p.m. openers. The 16U event will feature a five-team playoff on Sunday beginning with first round games at 4:30 p.m. A pair of semifinal games in the 16U Grand Slam are set for 6:30 p.m. and the championship game follows on Field 1.

The stacked 16U Grand Slam field includes Sportika Gallagher Select, Tri-State Arsenal 16U Navy, Baseball U North Jersey, D-1 Colts, Diamond Jacks Super 16U, All-Out Pack, Jersey Boyz Baseball and two Staten Island Orioles squads.

Twelve teams will convene in the 14U Grand Slam, which also opens play at 6:30 p.m. on Friday when the Diamond Jacks Super 16U team squares off with PS2 Academy Crusaders. The three-team 14U Grand Slam playoff opens with the 2 vs. 3 game at 6:30 p.m. on Field 4. The 14U championship game follows, also on Field 4.

The impressive 14U field has drawn such quality programs as the PA Shockers, Wall Wildcats, Bronx Bombers 14U, Stars Baseball and Beast Red and Beast Black.

The 13U Grand Slam opens at 6:30 p.m. Friday when the Diamond Jacks Gold 14U meets the New Jersey Nationals on Field 5. The 13U playoffs begin Sunday at 12:15 p.m. with the 2 vs. 3 game. That winner opposes the top seed for the championship at 4:30 p.m. on Field 5.

Jersey Boyz Baseball, WE Falcons, ASBA Downingtown Blue, All-Out Pack and the Diamond Jacks Super 13U are featured in an excellent field.

The 12U Grand Slam kicks off on Saturday when the host Diamond Jacks Super 12U squad plays a 8 a.m./10 a.m. doubleheader, including an intriguing matchup with Baseball U New York in the second game. The eight-team tournament concludes on Sunday with the championship game at 2:15 p.m. on Field 6.

The Stars Black, Monmouth Liberty Baseball Club and NJ Prospects 12U are a trio of talented clubs vying for a championship.

The 11U Grand Slam opens play at 8 a.m. on Saturday when Team Invictus battles the Diamond Jacks Super 11U squad on Field 6. The five-team playoff begins with a first round game on Sunday at 2:15 p.m. The 11U Grand Slam semifinals are set for 4:30 p.m. and the winners meet at 6:30 p.m. on Field 2 for the championship hardware.

The 11U Grand Slam field also boasts the NJ Renegades, Upstate Battlers 11U and the Diamond Jacks Gold 11U.