Star gazingPublished 8:58pm Monday, July 8, 2013
It was a picturesque scene at the Susiegray McConnell Sports Complex on Monday as 46 softball teams decked out in an array of colors waved banners and exchanged small talk during the opening ceremony of the ENC Babe Ruth state softball tournament.
The tournament will stretch throughout the week and will no doubt feature several hotly contested games, but on Monday the vibe was a friendly one as players from different teams and age brackets mixed together to play games like hot potato and duck, duck goose, while managers flashed smiles as they competed in the coaches’ challenge.
“This is about a lot more than playing softball and learning how to catch the ball and hit the curve,” said Washington Girls Fastpich Softball League president Greg Dority, who served as an emcee for the opening ceremony. “It’s about fellowship, developing leadership and the bonding that these girls will have and the great new friends they will make during their week in Washington. It’s just about so much more than softball.”
The opening ceremony featured a nice nod to the hometown as Washington 16U catcher Sydney Keech sang the National Anthem, while Bartow Houston was tabbed to be the keynote speaker.
“The board got together and it was a unanimous decision to ask Bartow to give some local remarks because he is a legendary Washingtonian. He played on the 1956 football team and he has worked with the Daily News for several years. He is the philosopher poet of Washington County and we were glad to have him out here,” Dority said.
In another nod to Washington former Pam Pack ace Charity Watson delivered the first pitch to Washington 14U All-Stars catcher Briley Waters.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that Charity is one of the top softball players to come out of Washington and Washington’s had some great ones,” Dority said. “She (finished her career) fourth in the state in total strike outs and had a 0.25 ERA and she led the Pam Pack for many years and she was a unanimous decision by the board to come out and throw the first pitch.”
The tournament will officially swing into action today at 8 a.m. with an estimated 40 games scheduled to be played on the first day alone. Admission to the tournament is $5 for adults and $2 for fans 10-years old-and-under and tournament passes for the week are available for $20.