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13th annual Ball Bash returns bigger and better than ever

Remembering Tommy V… and crushing it
This year marks the 13th Annual Crested Butte Ball Bash, an annual coed softball tournament that draws talent from throughout Colorado to raise money and remember local softball player and all-around great guy Tommy Villanueva.

While interest has waxed and waned over the course of the past 12 years, this year is shaping up to be the biggest ever, with 12 teams signed up to fill the tournament completely. “It’s such a fun tournament, everyone’s telling their friends and you can’t beat free camping on Town Ranch,” says Crested Butte Parks and Rec Recreation supervisor Lauren Alkire. Five local teams—including defending champions the Tommyhawks—are in, as are a couple of teams from Gunnison, a Telluride squad, a team from Montrose and a Western State Colorado University team comprised mostly of their wrestling team. The teams will be split into two pools of round-robin–style scheduling. The action starts bright and early Saturday, August 9 with games all day at all three fields, Tommy V, Gothic and, new this year, Pitsker Field. Pool play continues Sunday morning until it’s done. At which point, the top two teams will advance to single elimination playoffs while the bottom team from each pool will square off for a shot at the coveted Toilet Bowl title. “We have a real trophy this year for the Toilet Bowl,” says Alkire. The championship game is scheduled to be early Sunday afternoon, depending on how the tournament plays out. No Ball Bash would be complete, though, without a Home Run Derby. This year’s Home Run Derby will be Saturday at Tommy V Field at 5 p.m. There are 20 spots for men and 10 spots for women available, and the entry is $20 per person. Anyone, whether playing in the tournament or not, can register at tournament headquarters at Tommy V Field on Saturday before 4:30 p.m. Corey Tebo of Telluride won the men’s title last year and Molly Keating dominated the competition to win the women’s Home Run Derby title. Rumor has it that this year’s competition could be big, with Tebo returning and bringing a handful of other Telluride players solely to take a shot at the Derby title. Sunday afternoon one champion team will emerge and awards will be handed out accordingly, including the Tommy Villanueva Memorial MVP Award and the John Wheeler Memorial Sportsmanship Award. All proceeds from the tournament will benefit the Tommy Ruben Villanueva Sports and Recreation Fund and the Crested Butte Parks and Recreation Scholarship Fund. Ask yourself…WWTVD.

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