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9/5/2013 2:39:00 PM
Hispanic softball rocks Lions Park
One of many athletes at the tournament takes a swing Saturday, Aug. 24. Photo by Erik Pague.
One of many athletes at the tournament takes a swing Saturday, Aug. 24. Photo by Erik Pague.
Erik Pague

The eighth annual Hispanic State Softball Tournament brought players of all ages and their families to Lions Park Saturday, Aug. 24, for another exciting and fun weekend of softball, good food and quality family time. Tournament director Charles Garcia said it was an all-around good time with plenty of big plays and thrilling games.
"Anytime I look in to the park and I see people hanging around with their families barbecuing and watching other games - and the camaraderie that comes with this tournament - then it's a huge success," he said. "It was built on that type of atmosphere and for me, it's always been about having a good event and quality competition."
The tournament was divided into three brackets by skill levels to encourage plenty of the solid competition Garcia and the fans wanted to see. In the lower division, team Five-Star was made up of a majority of teammates hailing from Othello and went on to win their bracket Sunday. They started off in a more competitive bracket Saturday, but a switch to the recreational division proved to be a critical ingredient to their success, Garcia said.
"They were overmatched in that division so we moved them into the recreational division and it was a perfect fit for them and a couple other teams," he said. "That was a big key for us this year. We wanted to make sure teams were playing against equal caliber teams down the stretch."
Garcia said they started off 1-2 Saturday before the division switch came, but once they did move down, they put in some solid performances.
"They played real well," he said. "They played in their element, they did the little things, hustled and that was the difference in the end."
They went on to play a tough team coming from Quincy in their semifinal matchup Sunday. Garcia said it was "a better game than the championship" that went back and forth until the home team held on to a one-run lead for the win as Quincy had the tying run on third base and the winning run on second.
Los Locos were another team made out of some players from Othello and they played in the more competitive upper division. They went on to win it all and become the champions, which is a far cry from what the team has been able to pull off in the past, Garcia said.
"Ironically, they always played in the lower division and never have placed," he said. "Then they came up to the upper division and they ended up winning it."
One of their wins came over a tough team called the Desert Dogs coming out of Moses Lake. Garcia said this was just one of the achievements Los Locos pulled off in a tournament run that shocked a lot of people.
"They played well and I'll be honest with you, I don't think anybody would have beat them Sunday," he said. "They were playing that good and Sunday, there was not a better team than them in the upper division."
The tournament also featured a home run derby won by local Joey Villarreal. He ended up winning a brand new softball bat and a $240 prize.
"He went five-for-five in the final round with five swings and five homeruns," Garcia said.
Members of the Little Guy Wrestling Club manned the concession booth serving up carne asada while mariachi music streamed through the park. Garcia said plenty of people were enjoying the atmosphere all weekend. He would like to thank the parks crew from the city for keeping the field looking nice and also Manuel Benavides and Danny Gonzalez for their help in running the tournament.

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: Ed Swan

ejUnbelievable! Itís unbelievable to me that this sort of overt racism is acceptable, in 2013, in the USA Ė even more repulsive the fact that itís sponsored by a city councilman and fawned over by our city newspaper. Itís amazing (and heartbreaking) to me that there isnít widespread public outcry. For still unexplained reasons, this ethnically-themed tournament, that graciously permits two token Caucasians per team to play, is allowed to continue to operate in a public domain. I had contemplated explaining why this egregious sham should be shut down, exposed and ridiculed for what it is however, it would be tantamount to preaching to the choir. And perhaps an existentially devastating fact: Othelloís choir is nearly extinct. Wonder how an all-Caucasian soccer tournament (save for two token Hispanics) would go over in Mexico? Unbelievable!

Not for print newspaper!!! No time to edit, redact, and make ready... plus such a version would compromise my morals

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