-The busiest week of the summer for National Pro Fastpitch starts here Thursday (June 26) at Stazio Field when the leagues collection of former collegiate All-Americans and professionals face a challenge from a group of highly-touted high school players getting their first glimpse into the world of big-time softball.
Prior to the start of the 2003 Louisville Slugger Independence Day Softball Tournament (www.bouldersoftball.org), the NPF All-Stars share the field with a group of high school fastpitch softball players seeking an opportunity for exposure before college coaches. There will be no admission charge for the 6:30 p.m. (MDT) game ) at Stazio Field, a complex of seven diamonds located two blocks north of Arapahoe on 63rd Street.
Over 300 coaches from more than 190 colleges are expected to attend the Friday through Tuesday tournament as the Louisville Slugger Independence Day All-Stars will be made up of 18 players from nine states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington).
The 2003 Louisville Slugger Independence Day Tournament has a national tournament flavor with 112 teams from 25 states scheduled to compete. In addition to games at Stazio Field, the event will also use the East Mapleton complex (three diamonds at Mapleton and 29th Streets).
The All-Stars of National Pro Fastpitchs 2003 summer tour are no strangers to the nationally renowned Colorado Independence Day Tournament. All but two of the 13-player roster competed in the Boulder tournament during their earlier Fastpitch careers. Those players, now several years removed from their days in the 18-and-under and 16-and-under age group, return to Stazio Field for the first-time in several years.
In addition to Bauer, Hanson and Iancin, other NPF All-Stars that have played in the Boulder event are Allison Andrade, Lauren Bauer, Tarrah Beyster, Shauna Briggs, Kara Brun, Lindsey Collins, Jaime Foutch, Erika Hanson, Lisa Iancin, Scia Maumausolo and Venus Taylor.
The exhibition with the Independence Day All-Stars will represent the NPF All-Stars fourth stop on a 17-city, nationwide tour to promote the re-launch of National Pro Fastpitch in 2004. In addition to posting a 3-1 record in games in California, Minnesota and Wisconsin, the NPF All-Stars have hosted clinics and made appearances at Major League Baseball games in San Francisco, Minneapolis and Milwaukee.
Amy Kyler, who has not given a earned run and only six hits in four appearances and 15 2/3 innings this season, will be looking for her third win in as many decisions Thursday against the Independence Day All-Stars. Kyler (Cleveland State) has walked only three batters while striking out 28 hitters in winning games in Sacramento and Minneapolis earlier this month.
Infielders Jaime Foutch (Oklahoma State) and Kara Brun (Arizona State) lead the NPF All-Stars in batting. Foutch has nine hits in 13 at-bats with four doubles and three runs-batted-in. Brun has five hits in 13 at-bats with a double and two runs-batted in.
In conjunction with game between the two all-star teams, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA, www.nfca.org) will conduct an exposure camp earlier Thursday. The NFCA exposure camp will take place at the main Stazio Field complex.
Following the Boulder game, the NPF All-Stars will play in the Triple Crown Sparkler All-Star Tournament Saturday and Sunday (June 28-29) at the Christopher Four Plex (10400 N. Sheridan, Westminster) before playing a single game Tuesday (July 1) in Fort Collins. The NPF All-Stars will also be involved in a July 2 clinic in Highlands Ranch and a meet and greet social functions before the Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field June 30.
Colorado Activities, 2003 NPF All-Star Tour
Thursday, June 26
· 6:30 p.m. NPF All-Stars vs. Independence All-Stars at Stazio Field, Boulder
Saturday, June 28
- Triple Crown Sparkler All-Star Tournament
· 11:10 a.m. NPF All-Stars vs. Fort Collins Force/TC Diamonds, Christopher Four Plex (10400 N. Sheridan, Westminster)
· 2:45 p.m. - NPF All-Stars vs. Northern Illinois Lightning (Elgin), Christopher Four Plex
Sunday, June 29
- Triple Crown Sparkler All-Star Tournament
· 8 a.m. - NPF All-Stars vs. Fort Collins TC Buckaroos, Christopher Four Plex
· 11:25 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:20 p.m. and/or 4;10 p.m. Pool play elimination and championship games, Christopher Four Plex
Monday, June 30
· Afternoon/Evening First pitch appearance at Coors Field prior to Colorado Rockies MLB game with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Tuesday, July 1
· 6:15 p.m. Game against the Colorado Triple Crown Champions, at Triple Crown Center, Fort Collins (3930 Automation Way).
Wednesday, July 2
· Morning Colorado Wildfire Clinic, Highlands Ranch