Softball teams to compete in Valley next summer |

Softball teams to compete in Valley next summer

by Donnie Nelson

The top youth softball teams in the state will be coming to the Carson Valley this summer to compete for state championships in their respective divisions.

About 50 teams representing five different age-group divisions will compete in the Nevada State Amateur Softball Association Girls “A” Fast Pitch Championships on June 20 and 21 at three sites in the Valley, it was recently announced by tournament director Al Davis.

The tournament, which is broken down into five two-year age divisions starting with 10-and-under, will bring approximately 600 players and 2,500 fans to the area. The visitors will certainly provide a big economic boost for the area, according to Davis.

The tournament is being put on by the Douglas Dusters, a 14-and-under team based in the Valley, the Shockers, a two-division organization based in the Valley, and the High Sierra Wildcats, a multi-division organization based in Reno. Major sponsors to date include Sharkey’s, McDonalds, Fast Signs and Fleet Feet.

The Dusters, coached by Mark Gonzales, and Wildcats, directed by Joe Lewis, agreed last year to undertake a joint venture to host the 1998 tournament. They began the bidding process in September and were awarded the tournament in January at the state ASA meeting held in Sparks.

Davis made the proposal, which was approved overwhelmingly by ASA members.

The biggest draws for the Valley were its beautiful surroundings and well-maintained facilities. The 10- and 12-and-under tournaments will be held at Aspen Park, the 14-and-under tournament, along with some 10-and-under games, will be held at Stodick Park, and the 16- and 18-and-under tournaments will be held at Lampe Park.

“It will expose high-competition softball to the young people of the Carson Valley,” Davis said. “Hopefully, all of the youth will come out and see it. This is where the benefit will come from, exposing them to this style of fast-pitch softball.”

Davis said there will be about 40 people, mostly parents and all volunteers, who will run the championships. The Valley last hosted the event in the early 90s.

The Valley was actually unchallenged in its bid to host the tournament. Davis said he had heard two organizations from southern Nevada and one from northern Nevada were planning on making bids but dropped out when they heard the Carson Valley was going after the tournament.

“Everybody was thrilled it was going to be in the Minden-Gardnerville area,” Davis said.

The event was held in the Las Vegas area last year. Davis said temperatures reached well into the triple digits and there was no shade to be found or water fountains operating.

Davis said the Carson Valley has exactly what ASA teams are looking for in a state tournament venue.

It has enough fields, for now, to host the event comfortably. The fields are all equipped with adequate warm-up areas, dugouts with roofs, electronic scoreboards, snack bars, picnic areas and permanent restrooms.

It also has the best views and natural settings. All of the fields are set against the brilliant backdrop of the Sierra, and the temperatures are just right.

“We stepped up and let it be known last September we were going to bid,” said Davis, a former coach of the Dusters. “The fact we let it be known suppressed any competition. I can’t prove anyone dropped out, but we were the only bidder. Mark Gonzales can tell you, we have without question the best facilities in northern Nevada, and I believe in the state, bar none.”

Davis said without Stodick Park, the Valley wouldn’t have enough fields to host the event.

“The ASA is exploding,” Davis said. “In terms of numbers, the last one that was here was only about 50 percent of what this one will be.”

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