Mitchell Unleashed softball team set to compete in ColoradoInstead of competing in the fifth annual Lowell Rang Memorial Fastpitch Softball Tournament this weekend, like it usually does, the Mitchell Unleashed Fastpitch softball team is set to compete in a slightly larger tournament in Colorado.
By: Claire Meador, The Daily Republic
Instead of competing in the fifth annual Lowell Rang Memorial Fastpitch Softball Tournament this weekend, like it usually does, the Mitchell Unleashed Fastpitch softball team is set to compete in a slightly larger tournament in Colorado.
Ten Mitchell girls, along with two area girls, make up the Unleashed team and will be competing in the Colorado Sparkler Tournament, which takes place in Westminster-Hyland Hills, Colo., and runs Tuesday through Sunday, July 1.
Courtney Moore, Ashley Larson, Emily Sudbeck, Darien Fahey, Kaleigh Rolle, Katy Lazenby, Krista Huber, Hallie Misiaszek, Abby Sudbeck and Hannah Webster are the girls participating from Mitchell and Jean Skoglund from McCook Central/Montrose and Kirsten Williams from James Valley Christian are also on the team.
The Sparkler Tournament, which is a national tournament put on by Triple Crown Sports, showcases players from all over the country to top college coaches. The University of South Dakota will be there but schools like the University of Florida and the University of Louisville will be there as well.
The team is starting its trek to Colorado today, because it’s also going to participate in the Colorado Classic this weekend, which is a round robin tournament and kicks off Saturday in Fort Collins, Colo.
“I kept thinking, ‘I’ve got to get a group of girls out to Colorado,’ ” Unleashed coach Jim Misiaszek said.
“These girls are ready to be put up against some of the best talent in the United States, just to see where they’re at. We’ve got some girls that want to go on to the next level after high school, so I put together this team and that’s what we’re teaching them (at this tournament) is the next level of ball.”
Mitchell will be playing in the 18-and-under bracket, which will have 32 five-team pools. It will be put together randomly in a pool and will start play on Tuesday. The team will play Wednesday, it has Thursday off, and then the final round will start on Friday, June 29, and run through July 1.
“Depending on how we do in our pool play, we’ll get put in a certain bracket for the weekend, which will be a reflection of how we played,” Misiaszek said.
“Now, if we go 4-0, we’ll be in the power pool bracket, which is the really good bracket. After that, there are different brackets, depending on how each team did in the pool play.”
The team raised more than $6,000 to participate in the tournament and make the journey out to Colorado. Along with playing in the tournament, the girls are also going to be able to explore Colorado, attend a Colorado Rockies baseball game and go whitewater rafting.
Misiaszek said the team didn’t set any specific goals for its trip; he just wants to get the girls exposed to a higher level of fastpitch softball.
“Our goal, and the purpose of the team itself, is to get the kids out there and see what fastpitch softball looks like outside of the Upper Midwest,” he said.
“We’re more than likely going to be playing against girls who they will see on TV next year in the College World Series. We will probably face some pitchers that have signed with top notch schools. We just want to go out there, have fun and enjoy the experience.”
Along with the tournament, there will also be a combine where many college coaches will sit and watch the girls go through drills, watch them hit and see what they’re like as players. If a college coach is interested in a player, they’ll be able to speak with the girls right on the spot.
“It’s just going to be a wonderful experience and the kids are going to see things they may never see again,” Misiaszek said.
“Sometimes that’s almost as important as the game itself — the experience you take away from it.”