Kaw Valley Bank makes it three in a row at Don Abel Memorial Softball Tournament
It's 4 a.m., do you know where your company slow pitch softball team is?
Mother Nature may have stalled it and the Reynolds Lawn and Leisure team may have challenged, but neither forces of nature nor humans could stop the 11-member Kaw Valley Bank squad from winning its third straight championship last weekend in the Don Abel Memorial Wrestling Foundation Softball Tournament.
Because of rain, the tournament was delayed four hours and the first game began at noon.The delay forced the tournament's final games into the wee hours of Sunday morning.
The eight-team tournament began in 1999 to raise funds for the non-profit organization established in honor of the late Don Abel, a former member of the Kaw Valley Bank team as well as a baseball and kids wrestling coach in Eudora. The tournament raised close to $1,100 for the Abel memorial fund, said tournament organizer Scott Hopson. The tournament and a breakfast in December raise money for two scholarships, a leadership award and money for the youth wrestling program in Eudora.
Two-time defending champion Kaw Valley Bank team won games against Holiday Inn, Johnny Ballgame and the High Plains Drifters during Saturday's double elimination tournament.
KVB faced Reynolds Lawn and Leisure in the tournament's final game at 1 a.m., Sunday. Reynolds, which lost its opener to C-Hawkk, won four games in the loser's bracket against Motley Crew, Johnny Ballgame, a rematch victory over C-Hawkk and an important game against third place High Plains then surprised KVB, forcing a second championship game. KVB managed to recover and defeated Reynolds 28-18 in the deciding championship game.
While KVB is the only team to win the Abel tournament, KVB player Scott Hoover said the overall competition was stepped up quite a bit from past seasons.
"Reynolds was a really good, young team," Hoover said. "The competition was better all day and it seemed like there were a lot more people in the stands."
With rain causing problems for the field, Joe Deshazer, Eric Smith and Tom Whitten were instrumental in making sure the tournament would not have to be delayed to a later weekend. While the trio worked on grooming the field for play, Hopson ran the concession stand for the duration of the tournament and Gambino's Pizza Manager Aaron Boden provided the food and split the profits with the organization. Eudora High School student Lacy Deathe pitched in by designing the uniforms this year.
"It was a lot easier to play into the night since everyone was already there," Hoover said. "One of the teams couldn't play on Sunday because of church."