The first year my daughter was on the roster of a tournament team, she was 9 years old and only saw garbage time on a team that won just 1 or 2 games all summer. My friend Mike’s daughter had a similar experience on that same team, our girls represented the younger end of the spectrum and rode a lot of pine. They’re now juniors at rival high schools, although the rivalry is mostly amiable when it comes to softball – CPS has won each of the last 7 matchups dating to their freshman seasons. We see each other at the games, do some friendly razzing and catch up.
The same team has another of Nat’s former teammates, Haley (now a freshman) as their starting pitcher. Nice girl, good athlete, I coached her on 2 summer teams, we’ve known the family for some years. With Natalie pitching in the top of the first, Haley takes one the other way, slugging a long triple over the right fielder’s head. Bottom half of the same inning with Haley on the mound, Natalie sends a bomb way over their centerfielder’s head for an 2 run double. Win-win, I enjoyed seeing both kids having success.