The City of Brotherly Love Softball League staged its inaugural women’s tournament late last month and, despite a stormy start, achieved a smooth finish.
This is the first year that the women’s division has hosted a tournament separate from the men’s event, which was held over Memorial Day weekend. The women’s event, June 27-28, brought together 10 teams: six from CBLSL and four from other locales in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.
Cathy Harris, commissioner of the CBLSL women’s league, estimated that the event drew about 200 players and spectators.
On June 26, however, a brief but strong storm hit the region, swamping the Pennypack Park fields, where the games were to begin the next morning.
“There was so much work going into this: putting it together, getting the sponsors together, making up the schedule and getting all of the teams there,” Harris said. “There were so many hours of work before the tournament goes on that we didn’t want anything to stop it. We didn’t want a speed bump of our field getting flooded to get in the way.”
Harris said she had a contingency plan — Dairy Fields in Fairmount Park, where CBLSL usually holds its games — but that location was also flooded.
Harris, along with Patty Inacker, Kim Howes, Monica Halter and Jocelyn Ang, worked throughout the night to prepare Dairy Fields for that Saturday’s games.
“Thanks to the help of my friends, we were able to work until 1:30-2 in the morning to get the field prepared,” she said. “We were determined that we were not going to let this make the tournament not happen, and thankfully we were able to pull it off.”
The 10 teams were split into competitive and recreational divisions, and teams participated in three games during the Round Robin play on Saturday in order to determine their seed. The following day, the teams returned to Pennypack Park for double-elimination, with three winners emerging from the two brackets.
Nick’s 114 Café from New Cumberland topped the competitive division, followed by the New Jersey Gems and CBLSL’s Camac Attack. CBLSL claimed all the recreational division places, with V.I.P. earning the top honor, followed by Foul Play and Simons 369ers.
Players also got to try their hand at a homerun derby on Saturday, in which a Gems player was victorious with 10 homeruns, taking home a $50 Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card.
Harris said that, despite the messy start, the tournament was well-received by all who participated and she’s eager to expand upon this year’s success.
“Everyone played with great sportsmanship and I couldn’t have asked for better weather throughout Saturday and Sunday. Next year we hope for even more teams and bigger competition,” she said. “The feedback I was getting from several different teams was that everyone enjoyed playing and will be back next year. That’s the most important thing for me.
“One team traveled around the country participating in tournaments and said that this was the best-run tournament they’ve ever been to. That compliment makes me feel that all the work that went into it was worth it.”