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Summit girls softball ready for next level

Jason Starr

SUMMIT COUNTY – The Top of the Rockies girls softball tournament has been going on for decades in Summit and Eagle counties. Now, for the first time, the local team is good enough to play.

Coming off a C level win in its first tournament of the season May 18-19 in Greeley, the Summit Competitive Girls Softball 16-and-under team feels confident jumping up a level and playing in this weekend’s B level Top of the Rockies.

“They are all just really excited to play,” said U16 coach Shelly Koehler. “Their dedication is like mine, which I’ve never seen in teen-agers.”

Summit’s 5-0 performance in Greeley was an eye-opener for Koehler. Most of the players are returning from last year’s team and from the Summit High varsity squad, also coached by Koehler. Their experience and age is starting to show.

“Our 16-and-under girls are really taking the lead,” Koehler said. “Their mental game has gone beyond my expectations.”

But this weekend’s tournament, played in Breckenridge, Dillon and Vail, will be a new test for the team. Summit played in a couple B level tournaments last year, but now, it hopes, it really belongs.

“We’ve played B before,” said Summit infielder Brittany Ellsworth. “But that was when we weren’t quite as strong.

“I don’t think we’ll place quite as high (as in C level), but we have a good chance of getting higher than we have before.”

Summit wants to be able to compete at the B level because the SHS team moves into the Jefferson County League this fall. It will be higher level softball than what it was used to in the former Metro League.

“I think B will be the place for us,” Koehler said. “This (tournament) will tell us a lot more and give us some direction for me.”

Summit Competitive Girls Softball’s U14 squad will also compete this weekend. Last year, the program sported three teams, including U12. But the U12 and U14 teams were both short on players this spring, so they were combined. That means a lot of younger girls are playing in an older division.

“This year, we just don’t have enough for both U12 and U14,” said coach and program founder Don Clark.

Some girls have left the county, some are injured and some decided not to play.

“It’s just little things that have added up,” said Clark, who is still looking for new players.

“Once school ends, we tend to pick up some players.”

Both teams travel to most of the same tournaments throughout the summer. Both play three games today at Blue River field in Breckenridge against teams from around Colorado.

Summit Competitive Girls Softball

Top of the Rockies tournament

Schedule

U16 team

Saturday

8 a.m. Blue River field

11 a.m. Blue River field

3:30 p.m. Blue River field

Sunday

9 a.m. Blue River field

U14 team

Saturday

9:30 a.m. Blue River field

12:30 p.m. Blue River field

2 p.m. Blue River field

6:30 p.m. East Vail

Sunday

10:30 a.m. Vail TBA

Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at jstarr@summitdaily.com.


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