Little League softball area-district tournament director Danielle Tassel was fired up yesterday, July 5, for the start of 9-10-year-old post-season play at Rumsey I ball field.
“We are expecting a good turnout and there will be six teams coming from out of town,” she said.
The teams represented in the tournament include Show Low, Blue Ridge, Flagstaff, Taylor, Winslow, Snowflake and Payson.
Also tickling Tassel’s fancy was the wide variety of traditional snacks most often found at big league games and munched on to the tune of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
“Besides entertainment, we are offering a fully stocked snack shop with hamburger and hot dog meals for good prices,” she said. “Gatorades, water, snacks, nachos, candy and SCOOPS will be out with their vending booth offering ice cream to cool down the masses during play time.”
Three opening-round games were played yesterday — Show Low vs. Blue Ridge, Flagstaff vs. Taylor and Winslow vs. Payson (results were not available at press time).
Snowflake received a first-round bye and played at 9 a.m. today against the winner of the Show Low vs. Blue Ridge clash.
Also today, a winners and losers bracket game will be contested.
The tournament continues each day through July 10 when the championship game will be played at 9:30 a.m.
Should an “if” game be needed, it will be played at 9:30 a.m., July 12.
An “if” game is when a team, with a single loss, advances to the championship through the loser’s bracket.
If that team whips an unbeaten team, then both have one loss and an “if” championship finale is needed.
The Payson all-star team, which is managed by Tara Fuller-Smith and coached by Peter King, has been practicing two hours each day in preparation for the tournament.
Fuller-Smith is predicting the Payson stars, despite being underdogs because Little League is in only its third year of existence in the Rim Country, has a shot at pulling off upsets mostly because of camaraderie.
“Our attitudes are our strength and the girls work well together and they are all good kids,” she said. She also points to defense as a strong point, “We have good fielding, in fact, a great infield.”
Payson’s 11-12-year-old all-star team traveled yesterday to Flagstaff for the area-district post-season tournament. The 13-14-year-olds are playing in Winslow.