Photos and story Earl Heath
FORT COLLIN, CO-As summer seasons brings out the best in most of us, Triple Crowns Sports brings together the best young softball from around the country and the world. The Sparkler tournament for ages 16U and 18U had more than 500 teams from the USA, Guam, Canada and Australia.
The Junior Sparkler (14U and 12U) took place in the Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley area. It had more than 200 teams from 38 different states. The tournament had some of the most talented young people anywhere. We will bring you some of the highlight of the Junior Sparkler.
The Players included The Nashville Night Hawks 14U who had a trio that would make many college coaches take notice. Shortstop Chelsey Gore made back handed plays, threw runners out from deep in the hole and on offense had several stolen bases.
“The tournament gives me a chance to play with my friends,” said Gore. “We get a chance to be together and show what we can do as a team.”
Gores father has a horse farm with some 15 horses and she likes horseback riding during her spare time.
“The game is fun for me” said 14 year old Syde Soloman. “I really like playing with my friends, we all help each other out.” Soloman plays catcher and third base for the Nighthawks. She bats clean-up and is a true leader- her teammates look up to her for inspiration. She already has plans for the future. “I want to play college softball. I like Florida I’ve seen them on TV I think it would be a cool place to play.”
Nataia Martin is the third member of the fantastic trio. The athletic center fielder excelled on offense and defense. She played center-field like a seasoned pro. She chased down line drives that appeared to be hits. In two games she threw out two runners headed to third base and gunned down two more headed for home.
“I practiced long tossing with my 12 year-old sister,” said Martin. “That helped me make accurate throws in a game.”
She has jackrabbit speed – She scored all the way from first base on a single to the outfield. She’s is extremely athletic as a freshman played on the girls varsity basketball team at Bowling Green (KY) High School.
“I want to play softball and basketball in college. This tournament gives all of us good exposure”.