The 14th annual Capital City Coed Softball Tournament kicked off on Friday night at Dimond Park.
A total of 14 teams are competing in the tournament. Big Red, whose full name is the Malia Hayward State Farm Big Red, is one of them and has been since the inception of the tournament.
They played a doubleheader on Friday, winning one and losing one, before resting up for their final two pool play games and the start of double-elimination bracket play on Saturday. If they do well enough, they’ll advance to the championship game today, something they’ve done in three of the past four years. They won the Lower Division title in 2014 and 2016 and finished as runner-up last season.
“We’ve got about 15 to 18 people on the team that just keep coming back and so we have a good, core group that enjoys playing with each other. It’s just fun,” said Big Red manager Traci Gilmour, who started playing four decades ago. “And this is a great tournament that gets local teams together every year.”
The core group includes Darren Adams and Joe Ver, who have played on the same softball team for the past 26 years. They started out on opposite teams — Ver on Cook Cablevision and Adams on UAS. That changed when Ver’s team dissolved and Adams gave him a tryout.
“My team disbanded and I was looking for a team and (Adams) said, ‘I’d rather have you pitching with us than pitching against us because we could never hit you,’” Ver said.
Their softball network grows with each passing year and — like most of their teammates — it’s common for them to face ex-teammates in the tournament.
“If you end up playing sports in Juneau long enough, you end up playing with and against most everyone at some point,” Adams said. “I’ve been playing slow-pitch softball since 1990 and there’s been a lot of good friends who’ve been teammates at some point.”
That was the case for the Middle Division team Alcoballics on Saturday morning. Outfielder Brad Soneson said the team’s first two opponents of the day feature former teammates.
“The smack talk started early this morning,” Soneson, 26, said.
The Alcoballics joined the coed tournament five or six years ago, according to manager Shaun Guthrie. Soneson has played on the team for most of that time and is grateful the Juneau Softball Association puts it on every year.
“I honestly wouldn’t know what to do if nobody put this stuff together during the whole summertime,” Soneson said. “I just think it’s a good idea that there are people willing to volunteer to put these tournaments together for the rest of us.”
Fellow Alcoballics team member Bettyann Boyd had never played softball before last year. But after getting a taste of the game last season, she decided to come back for more this year.
“I came for the experience and to learn and have fun,” Boyd said. “And that’s what’s happening.”
The Lower, Middle and Upper Division championship games take place Sunday morning at Dimond Park. The 43rd annual Jaime Parsons Memorial Rainball Tournament is July 5-8. Rainball registration forms and fees are due June 29.
Sunday Championship Games
Lower Division: 10:15 a.m.
Middle Division: 11:45 a.m.
Upper Division: 1:15 p.m.
JPG Jammers 13, Big Red 6
AK Towing 15, Dirty Dozen 3
Big Red 14, Dirty Dozen 12
AK Towing 25, All Mixed Up 4
JPG Jammers 16, All Mixed Up 15
Base Invaders 17, Alcoballics 9
Tall Tale Taxidermy Wolves 8, Base Invaders 7
Tall Tale Taxidermy Wolves 12, Seaplanes 9
KillerBees 14, Alcoballics 5
D’Lunatics 17, Trash Talkers 8
Viking 14, Maniacs 7
Viking 12, Trash Talkers 5
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com.