Locals make softball history in Summit County
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Summit County, Colorado
Normally a team called the Fun Bunch – aptly named for its players’ attitudes while on the diamond – wouldn’t strike too much fear in an opponent, especially when that team’s from Summit County and even more so when the sport their playing is softball.
Or at least that’s what opponents seemed to think heading into the Spider Stephens Memorial Softball Tournament in Summit County last weekend.
“The Spider Stephens is such a big tournament; it’s a really big deal,” said Sean Jarvis, who plays for the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.-sponsored Fun Bunch. “So many teams from Fort Collins and Colorado Springs and Denver think they can come up here and whoop ass on some Summit County boys.”
Well, if that’s what they thought, they learned pretty quickly that they were dead wrong.
In a relatively dominating six-game sweep of the 21-team Men’s D Divisions of the tourney, the Fun Bunch took home the title and a piece of history.
“I’ve done some checking around, and I don’t think that any local team has ever won the Spider Stephens,” said Stephen “Smoke” Wilkins, the director of Summit County Softball and a member of the Fun Bunch squad. “I talked to one lady that said there have been some teams that finished second, but there’s never been a winner. We’re the first.”
To put that in better perspective, the Spider Stephens has been played for about 40 years, handing out trophies to the winners of its multiple divisions. Every year, teams from the Front Range have come to Summit to sweep the hardware.
Not this year.
The Fun Bunch began to set the tone for the weekend with a dominating 17-7 win in its first game, before rattling off five more wins in similar fashion (11-1, 18-13, 17-2, 12-8 and 9-4). Beyond the lopsided trend, the thing that might stand out to most softball enthusiasts was how few of runs the Fun Bunch gave up through the tourney.
“We didn’t actually score that much, just kind of normal,” said Adam Wilkins, who his brother Smoke declared the “head guy” of the team. “We didn’t let up anything, though.”
The Fun Bunch’s key to great defense was simple: make plays.
“We were just catching all the normal balls that we should and making all the plays that we should,” Adam Wilkins added. “It wasn’t anything special, just not many mistakes.”
Although there was little doubt to the talent level of the team (many of the Fun Bunch’s players were college athletes), no one on the team seemed to know what to expect entering the weekend.
“Not many of us had really played together,” Jarvis said.
Every player on the team has been a part of the Summit County Softball League for a number of years, but, as Jarvis pointed out, hardly any of them had ever been on the same team.
“We kind of just handpicked the team, trying to just get a group of some of the best Summit players,” Jarvis added.
Beyond Jarvis and the Wilkins brothers, the team also consisted of locals Casey Anderson, Reid Bartlet, Jim Burress, Mike Hoyt, Eric Johnson, Paul Meier, Josh Petit, Adam Pino and McChan Rawson.
With the win, the team has qualified for the state tournament in Greeley in early August.
Though the team likely won’t do any extra preparation for the tourney – most of the players already are in games Monday through Thursday each week – Jarvis said it’s definitely going to be something to focus on.
“We’d love to take that home,” he said of the title. ” … I think it would be a huge accomplishment.”
Bryce Evans can be reached at (970) 668-4634 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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