Little League: Three Rivers Junior softball team values regional berth |

Little League: Three Rivers Junior softball team values regional berth

Jon Mitchell

Steve Martin admits that the recent success of the Three Rivers Little League Junior softball team has created a few problems — the kind of problems he doesn’t mind having.

“We’re pretty proud that we’re having this problem,” the president of the Glenwood Springs-based organization said of the Juniors, the first team in Three Rivers’ history to make it past state-tournament play. “And I’ll tell you what. We would gladly take this problem on every year if we could.”

That problem revolves around the money the team had to raise just to get the Juniors (13 to 14 years old) — a team made up of players from Gypsum, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale — to the Southwest Regional tournament that begins today at Bicentennial Park in Sante Fe, N.M. Martin said that several businesses and individuals have stepped up to help with travel costs, giving the team more than $4,000 to work with.

Money, however, will be the farthest thing from anyone’s mind when the Juniors play against host-team Sante Fe at 1 p.m. today to begin the double-elimination tournament.

“These girls are so excited,” Juniors coach Jason Vargas said. “No one here is even thinking about money right now.”

Vargas also reiterated that his team is not thinking about Kirkand, Washington, which is where the winner of this weekend’s tournament goes to play in the Junior League Softball World Series. Instead, many are focusing on the effort it took for the Juniors to just make it this far.

First, the team won its district tournament in Delta. Then this past weekend, the team won its state tournament in Denver. During it all, money was spent on hotels, fast food, groceries, gas and other things just to get the parents and team members to their respective tournaments.

More businesses and people stepped up to help the team after its 14-8 state title-game victory over Westminster on Sunday. In all, that $4,000 was raised by parents and Three Rivers officials in just three days.

“If no one stepped up, we all could have found a way to do it,” Vargas said. “But in reality, it’s just so huge for everyone out there to dip into their pockets and help make this happen for these girls.”

The winner of Three Rivers’ game today will move on to play Texas East — otherwise known as the east Texas champion — in the second round at 1 p.m. Saturday. The loser will drop into an elimination game that will be played at 10 a.m. Sunday.

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