The Northern Nationals girls’ softball tournament for the 14-Under ‘B’ and 12-Under ‘B’ divisions, which began on Thursday at Yankton’s Sertoma Park, was the culmination of a month of hard work by the Yankton Girls’ Softball Association (YGSA).
Not “months” — which is typically the case when hosting a major event, like two years ago when the Northern Nationals were played in Yankton — but a month.
“We basically had less than a month to put it all together,” said YGSA president Brad Moser. “We had quite a few board members step up to make this happen.”
Moser was happy with the efforts made to make the tournament happen in such a short timeline.
“Is it perfect? Absolutely not, but everyone put in the effort to make it the best that we could,” he said. “I think people will appreciate the effort. We want teams to enjoy their stay here.”
Among the 26 teams — 15 in the 14-Under tournament and 11 in the 12-Under tournament — are teams from North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin, to name a few.
The Yankton Fury Black, coached by Moser, are one of the two Yankton teams participating in the event. It is the third straight year the Fury Black have played in the Northern Nationals, including the tournament in Yankton two years ago.
Moser felt his team wasn’t nervous as they hit the field, but faced the challenges of a tough field.
“You see some of these teams during the regular season, but there were some teams we hadn’t seen before,” he said. “In our first game, we saw a left-handed pitcher whose delivery was tough for us to pick up.”
Yankton Fury Black dropped a 5-3 decision to Blue Thunder and a 6-2 matchup with Siouxland Fastpitch. They face teams from Brookings and Plover, Wisconsin, today (Friday) to complete pool play.
The Vermillion Flamez, also in the 14-under division, beat Brookings Rebels 5-2 and dropped an 11-2 decision to the River City Wolfpack.
Blue Thunder, Fusion Synergy and Thunderstruck went 2-0 to open play in the 14-under division.
The Yankton Fury Twisters split their opening day contests, beating the Sioux Falls Eclipse 11-8 and dropped a 15-0 decision to Xplosion.
Cyclones Red, South Dakota Renegades, South Dakota Impact and Siouxland Fastpitch each went 2-0 on the opening day.
Pool play in both divisions begins at 8 a.m. today and concludes early in the afternoon. Double-elimination bracket play will follow. The tournament runs through Sunday. Admission will not be charged during the event.
Here are recaps from area teams that were submitted by presstime.
Blue Thunder 5, Fury Black 3
Blue Thunder used a four-run third inning to claim a 5-3 victory over Yankton Fury Black in pool play on Thursday.
Payton Moser had a hit and two RBI for Yankton. Camryn Koletzky, Lucy Yost and Lydia Yost each had a hit in the effort.
Olivia Binde took the loss, striking out three in her 2 2/3 innings of work. Lydia Yost struck out two batters in relief.
Siouxland 6, Fury Black 2
Siouxland took a 2-0 lead in the first inning and held on for a 6-2 victory over Yankton Fury Black in pool play on Thursday.
Olivia Binde had a hit and a RBI for Yankton. Megan Tramp added a hit and a run scored.
Binde struck out six batters in her five innings of work, taking the loss. Lydia Yost struck out one in two innings of shutout relief.