2,000 turn out for Youth softball

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
In the first game for both teams on Saturday, pitcher Jayden Willard for the Northwest Arkansas Prospects got batter Maddie Akers for the Lady Chiefs of Springfield to hit a pop fly to retire the sides. The Prospects would eventually win the open division bracket for the 12-and-under players, ending the Monett Youth Baseball and Softball League’s two-day Summer Bash at North Park. Murray Bishoff/Cassville Democrat

MYBSL hosts 46 teams for opener

It came down to 9:30 p.m. on a Sunday night at Monett’s North Park.

In the last of 86 softball games over two days, the Northwest Arkansas Prospects out of Gentry sealed a walk-off win by a score of 8-7, wrapping up the opening event of the season for the Monett Youth Baseball and Softball League. A two-day undertaking, the MYBSL Summer Bash brought 46 teams to town, 500 athletes and an estimated 2,000 people total.

The winning teams reflected the scope of the event.

In the 10-and-under C division, the Unified team from Webb City was the champion, and the runner-up was the Southeast Kansas Knockouts from Frontenac.

In the 12-and-under bracket, in addition to the Northwest Arkansas Prospects in the open division, in the C division, Freedom Fast Pitch of Springdale, Ark., was champion and Southeast Kansas Ice from Pittsburg was the runner-up.

In the 14-and-up division, Regal Athletics from Monett was the champion. Runner-up was Queen City Revolution out of Springfield-Stafford.

In the 16-and-under division, Missouri Intensity from Clever took the crown over the farthest-traveling team, Missouri Storm of Rolla, which played the first and last games in their bracket.

According to Shawn Beeson, tournament director for the MYBSL, organizers and the 14 USSA-sanctioned referees who each oversaw 14 or 15 games in the tournament, reviewed the history of tournaments hosted by the league. Only one other tournament attracted more teams, and those were split between Monett and Aurora. That made this the biggest event the league has ever hosted.

Beeson said he had been working on the event for six weeks, since City Administrator Dennis Pyle gave clearance to move forward with reopening in early June. Beeson worked with both county health departments to follow guidance for safety during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

“All of our workers who came in direct contact with people wore masks all weekend,” Beeson said. “We removed all the bleacher seating. People brought their own seats and were asked to social distance as best they could. I had been reminding the teams through emails about the seating. Considering the type of event, they did a good job keeping distanced.”

Five of the seven active board members on the MYBSL spent the weekend at the ball park. Heather Baumgartner, the concessions consultant on the board, hired approximately seven high school students to staff the concessions. Another half-dozen boys did field crew work. Beeson had particular praise for the city keeping the fields prepped. North Park foreman Larry Howard was on duty at 4 a.m. both days providing

field maintenance so that the league could chalk the fields and prepare to start games at 8 a.m.

The tournament dodged a potential rain shower on Saturday night and kept on schedule except for the last game. Bracket play started on Sunday, and the final game ended up one full time slot behind schedule.

“Over the entire event, we only had two complaints, and those were minor things,” Beeson said. “Overall, it went wonderfully. The biggest thing for a softball tournament is that everything goes smoothly. It all went wonderfully. Every coach I talked to was very happy and said they would come back.”

The MYBSL has two more events planned for its season. The one-day Sizzler will be held July 25 at North Park for 10U, 12U, 14U, 16U and 18U teams. Registration is available online at www.ussa.com. A two-day nighttime softball tournament is planned. Midnight Mania is offered on July 31 for 10U, 12U and 14U teams, offering a three-game guarantee. Midnight Madness on Aug. 1 will also offer a three-game guarantee for 16U and 18U teams. Prospective teams may contact Beeson at 417-489-1355 or via email at shawn.beeson@ussa.com.

The MYBSL is also participating in TroutFest for the Roaring River Softball Classic at the Cassville Aquatic Park on Saturday, Aug. 15 for 10U, 12U and 14U teams. Teams are offered a three-game guarantee with two pool play games and seeding in single elimination bracket. Registration can be made with the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce.

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