Four years ago, the Riptide girls competitive softball team was formed—and they didn’t win a single tournament game that year. This year, the same group of girls, most of whom live in Stapleton, Park Hill and Lowry, won their league championship and placed second in state. That performance got them to the regional competitions where they beat the championship teams from five states—including the Colorado team that had just beaten them for the state championship.
Amid the excitement of winning, the team had to make a quick decision. Would they travel to Florida in two weeks for the Babe Ruth Softball World Series and compete against the best teams in the country? Would enough girls give up their plans for family vacations and summer camps? Could they raise enough money to help offset expenses estimated at $20,000 for the entire team?
The answer was yes—and the team went into action. Together, four of the girls, Ana, Maddie, Sam and Claire, wove a picture of their World Series experience: Fundraising went quickly when they spread the word about their Go Fund Me site among their parents’ friends. Two teammates went door to door on Montview and got contributions from 18 of 20 people they told about their trip.
During a week of 90 degree days with 90 percent humidity in Florida in August, the Riptide played 13 games against teams that were better than they’d ever seen. “The first game was like a rude awakening…a different level of competition…After that we knew what to look for. We saw a lot of our errors go away, mental and physical. We all supported each other when we were nervous…I would look around and realize…no matter how I do I can say, ‘We were there.’”
Coach Steve Federico summed up the outcome. “They ended up in fifth place out of eight, and the game they won to get into fourth place was against the team that had beaten them 16–3 the first time they played—and we beat them 9–1.” Though the team played in the U14 division, most of the players are only 13, so they will play in the same division next year. They are optimistic that they’ll have another shot at the World Series next year.