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Prospect Meadows welcomes state softball event

August 25, 2020 | Angela Jordan

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Prospect Meadows has faced the same problems everyone else has this year. And like everyone else, we keep fighting back.

First the COVID-19 pandemic closed the facility for three months in March, April and May, then the vicious derecho left extensive damage when it ripped through Eastern Iowa Aug. 10.

Prospect Meadows battled back from the pandemic and now we’re battling back from the storm.

The Men’s 14-inch State Softball Tournament, sponsored by USA Softball of Iowa, is scheduled for Prospect Meadows this Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 29 and 30, after being postponed earlier this month by the derecho.

The derecho blew down fences, tore the roofs off dugouts, damaged backstops and damaged parts of the turf infields at the facility, but Prospect Meadows GM Steve James, Office Manager Marcia Moran, Turf Manager Blake Nelson and the gang have been leading the effort to get the complex ready for the state softball tournament.

They’ve taken the setbacks in stride and with good humor.

“We’re like the Murphy’s Law of sports complexes,” said James. “Anything that can go wrong … We get started up after the pandemic and el derecho hits.”

Tom Topping, the Tournament Director for the Men’s 14-inch State Tournament, is looking forward to holding the event at Prospect Meadows for the first time. Topping is very impressed with the facility and is confident it will be a good site for teams and fans.

“It’s first-class,” he said. “All the amenities. Turf infield. No maintenance. We’ve heard good things from people who have played there already.”

Topping hopes to have 24 teams in the tournament and is looking for a few more clubs to complete the field. His email address is TLTopping@earthlink.net. The entry free is $295.

The tournament originally was scheduled at Prospect Meadows for Aug. 15-16, just five days after the storm. The event has been held since 1966 and has proven popular with teams and players as a mix between 12-inch softball and 16-inch softball.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” said Topping.

He said the 14-inch game combines the strategy of 16-inch softball with the power and strength of the 12-inch game.

Runners can lead off and can be picked off in 14-inch softball, but they cannot steal. The hesitation pitch is allowed with a 12-foot arc.

The games are scheduled to begin Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. both days, with the championship game scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

The gate fees for the general public are $7 per day or $12 for a weekend pass. The fee for senior citizens and military veterans is $5 per day. Children 6-and-under will be admitted for free.

The Men’s 14-inch State Tournament will begin a busy stretch at Prospect Meadows. The 2020 Midwest Labor Day Classics begin Sept. 4, the 2020 PG Midwest Select Championships Soph/Under start Sept. 11, the 2020 WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship starts Sept. 18, the 2020 PG Midwest Select Championships Freshmen/Upper begins Sept. 25 and the Mya Strong 12U Softball Tournament is now scheduled for Oct. 10-11.

Angela Jordan