Girls softball is alive and well in the Mountain Area with three Yosemite Blaze girls travel teams preparing for the start of tournament play beginning in March.
The three teams, made up of girls by age, include 10 and under, 12 and under, and 14 and under.
All three teams will be participating in tournaments throughout spring and early summer.
Yosemite Blaze is the first “A” travel softball club for the mountain area. The club was formed in 2014 by Tami Franke, which consisted of a 16u team and then eventually a 14u team was added. The Yosemite Blaze now has a 10u, 12u and 14u team for the spring season and will eventually have a 16u team when the high school season ends.
“A” softball is the highest level of competition and has three different associations you can play in.
All of the players are from Coarsegold, Oakhurst, Ahwahnee, North Fork, O'Neals and one from Mariposa.
The Blaze club is a feeder program for Yosemite High School and Minarets High School and as these teams grow so will the high school programs according to coordinator and coach Tami Franke.
“The coaches have been trained by some of the best instructors in the state, so the players will be learning and perfecting their hitting and defensive skills,” Franke said.
Howard Kubota is a nationally known defensive instructor and he will be conducting a clinic for the Blaze seventh and eighth graders on March 15 and 16.
The Blaze will be playing in a minimum of seven tournaments, with the first being in Turlock on March 11 and 12. Most of the tournaments will be played in Merced, Turlock, Hanford and Fresno and one in Sonora and Modesto. The tournaments are always two days with three games being played on Saturday and single elimination on Sunday. The season continues through July.
This year, Blaze has added a few more coaches to help build the program. Matt Tuckness and Mindy Gresham will be coaching the 14u - Tami Franke, Katie Thompson, Angelina McBride and Rive Prater will be coaching the 12u - Tami Franke and Nate Hodges will coach 10u.
Thompson, McBride and Prater are all YHS varsity players who have been helping with the Blaze for the last few seasons as well as playing for the Blaze.
“Those three young ladies bring so much energy and positivity to the club as well as forming bonds with future high school players,” Franke said.
Details: Tami Franke, (559) 840-5919.