Holiday softball tournament reaches 22nd year

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— For the past 21 years, Steamboat has celebrated the Fourth of July holiday with fireworks, parades and softball.

This summer will be no different.

"We have 95 teams in Steamboat Springs this year," said Pat Yanda, Triple Crown Sports' tournament organizer.

While most of those teams will come from out of town and out of state, more than a few call Steamboat home.

The field will include at least four Steamboat teams. American Builders will play in the co-ed division, B & K Distributing will play in the women's division, SRC will play in the men's B/C division and Steamboat Blue will play in the men's E division.

"The biggest reason we get in this tournament is because we like to play the game," said Joey Rind, captain of the Steamboat Blue team. "I also like the higher level of competition in these tournaments."

Rind said the team's goal this week is to keep playing until the last day.

This year's holiday tournament will be the only slowpitch softball tournament of the summer. In the past, Triple Crown also hosted a summer national finals. But this season the organization elected to eliminate the August event in favor of a larger Fourth of July competition.

"A lot of teams had a hard time with the four-day format," Yanda said. "Next year, when the Fourth of July falls on a Friday, I expect the number of teams to grow significantly."

The tournament will open at 7 a.m. Friday and close with championship games Monday. A pool play format will be followed the first two days. The top two teams in each bracket will enter a double-elimination bracket Sunday. Teams finishing at the bottom of the pool will still be alive for a title, but will fall into the single-elimination loser's bracket. In order to win the tournament, those teams must remain unbeaten for the remainder of the tournament.

Yanda said organizers were hoping that wrapping things up Monday would allow players to remain in Steamboat Springs for the holiday week.

"This has been a great tournament in Steamboat Springs," Yanda said. "We think this event can continue to grow in the future."

- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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