Tournament full of teams from throughout the state
[ by Than Acuff ]
Hard to believe but the Ball Bash, Crested Butte Parks and Recreation’s annual softball tournament, turns 19 this year and is looking stronger than ever.
It’s actually not hard to believe at all as softball is incredibly popular in the Gunnison Valley, statewide, nationwide and even somewhat internationally as witnessed by softball at the Olympics and that there are countries such as Italy that have an Olympic women’s team.
Granted, totally different game in the Olympics with the fast pitching and trained athletes committed to the game and all of that but still, it’s taken hold and Japan won the gold medal.
At any rate, we got softball fever here in Crested Butte and it’s coming to a climax Saturday and Sunday, August 14-15 with the annual Ball Bash coed tournament.
Twelve teams are signed up with a waiting list in place. There are the usual local contenders, the Dark Stars, a Pitas squad and the Tommyhawks. In addition, teams from throughout Colorado will be coming into town for some high altitude athleticism as well as two teams from new territory.
“We have a couple Front Range teams, which has never happened in my time here,” says recreation, open space and trails supervisor Joey Carpenter.
The action starts bright and early Saturday morning with games going on all day at all three fields at a near frantic pace as only an hour is allotted for each contest.
Players will then have a little time to recuperate before only the mightiest men and women take to Tommy V Field at 5 p.m. Saturday evening for the Home Run Derby.
Sign-up for the derby is open all day Saturday at the backstop at Tommy V Field and anyone on a tournament team roster can sign up. It’s $25 to enter and will be capped at 12 men and 12 women.
Only the top three men and top three women will advance to the finals. One thing organizers do ask is make sure you can grip it and rip it if you sign up. Derby and tournament rules are available on the Crested Butte Recreation website under the Ball Bash tab.
Play then resumes once again on Sunday at 8 a.m. with only Gothic and Tommy V fields being used. Once the teams are done with their respective open play showdowns, the semifinals then start at 1 p.m. with the championship at Tommy V Field at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.
While games throughout the tournament are limited to one hour, the semis and finals will go a full seven innings regardless of time.
Proceeds from the tournament will be split between the Crested Butte Parks and Recreation Scholarship Fund and another organization to be determined.
The last Ball Bash to happen was 2019 and the champion, Average Joes, was determined by a coin flip due to weather. Hopefully the weather will cooperate this time around so a champion is crowned without an asterisk.