Great American Premier Softball Showcase
Weather washes out tournament finals
The Great American Premier Softball Showcase managed to avoid bad weather for most of its three-day run, but by July 15, the tournament ran out of luck.
Lightning and rain washed out most of the semifinals and all of the championship games for the 10U, 12U, 14U and 16U/18U brackets.
"I feel frustrated for the teams. They worked so hard to get to the end of the tournament and they didn't get to finish it out," director Mike Wilson said. "We had been pretty lucky. The storms kept hitting all around us. (The area) had a little rain (in the morning on July 15), but (the last storm in the late afternoon) is what put us out.
"We just wanted to see teams go home satisfied. That's been the hardest part."
The downpour started about 4 p.m. July 15. By 5:30 p.m. the rain had stopped, but lightning could be seen in the distance.
According to Wilson, every time an official sees lightning or hears thunder, a game has to be delayed 30 minutes.
The tournament drew 110 teams, many from out of state, to 18 fields in the Olentangy school district. All excess funds generated were to be split among the high school softball programs at Liberty, Olentangy and Orange.
As he loaded equipment into his truck, 16U Lady Lasers coach Jeff Cavanaugh took the rainout in stride.
"It would've been nice to play," said Cavanaugh, whose team had advanced to a semifinal. "We would've liked to finish it, but this is a sport that has weather-related circumstances all the time."
Cavanaugh said one of the reasons he wanted to participate in the event was it gave his team a chance to compete in front of several college coaches.
Wilson said about 50 college coaches attended the tournament. At one of the games, Cavanaugh estimated 10 college coaches watched his team play.
"I don't try to keep them from getting nervous," he said of his players. "I just let them go out there and have fun. Hopefully, they're not nervous when they play."
Wilson estimated 60 to 75 volunteers helped run the tournament.
"The volunteers we had were excellent. They worked extra shifts and they called in to see if we needed any more help," he said. "(Once the volunteers are coordinated), the tournament pretty much runs itself. That is unless it rains."