State Softball Tournament Displayed Strong Numbers
The Wyoming State Softball Championships took center stage in Casper last weekend with three days full of action.
There were 52 teams that competed across nine divisions from an 8U Pitching Machine up to an 18U Open division. That equates to around 600 girls playing fastpitch softball. A total of 13 communities were represented at the event put on by USA Softball of Wyoming.
The weekend started with an opening ceremony at Mike Lansing Field last Thursday that brought all the teams and fans together. The stands were nearly full when it began, and then after a parade of the teams, they gathered in the infield and nearly filled that up.
Tournament Director Rebecca Pexton has been with USA Softball of Wyoming for the last four years. She said it’s been nice to see this event grow.
“When I started, we had 35 teams that would attend state. We started the 8U division, which is more about fun than the competition with it because we want the girls to learn the skills, and that helps the 10’s and 12’s programs grow. Then, we’ve been able to bring in other ‘rec’ teams because in Wyoming we have Rec teams and ‘B’ league teams. We don’t have C, A, or Gold because of our population. It’s based on that.”
Pexton said this has allowed teams and programs to develop over the years in the various communities.
“The reward at the end of a hard work season is to be able to come to state, so a lot of them do find funds to be able to do that.”
One example Pexton gave was Laramie. She said they brought all their rec and travel teams, seven in all, and that helps their (USA Softball) program.
Pexton likes seeing the numbers climb back up. She’s been a player, a coach, and now an umpire. Pexton admitted as other opportunities came along for girls, the number involved in softball dipped, but now it’s starting to come back.
“What I like seeing now is these girls bringing in their friends.”
Pexton added that USA Softball is trying to bring in a coaching clinic to help teach the coaches around the state.
In the end, Pexton said, “I like to see our girls involved in sports.”
The champions across the nine different divisions played in Casper last weekend were as follows:
18U Open – Cheyenne Extreme
16U Open – Worland Wildfires
14U B – Gillette Blue Jays
14U Rec – Laramie
12U B – Rock Springs Storm
12U Rec – Wheatland Lady Lobos
10U B – Rock Springs Storm
10U Rec – Wheatland Lady Lobos
8U Pitching Machine – Laramie Lightning
The 13 communities that sent teams were Buffalo, Casper (host), Cheyenne, Cody, Gillette, Green River, Lander, Laramie, Powell, Riverton, Rock Springs, Wheatland, and Worland.