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Win or lose, Duncan’s fast-pitch softball team should benefit from playing in the eighth annual Triple Crown Invitational tournament in Fort Collins, Colo. this week.
“The level of competition is really good,” Bill Pilcher, a director of the tournament, said. “Can Duncan win? Maybe. It will take good pitching and good overall play. But they’ll return to Oklahoma a better team for the experience of playing. I do know that.”
The Lady Demons, 10-1 after defeating rival Lawton MacArthur in a spirited 2-1 district game here Tuesday, are one of 15 teams in the two-day event. It is the fourth time for Duncan to play in the prestigious tournament and it enters as the only non-Colorado team.
“We have five classifications in Colorado,” Pilcher said. “I’d think Duncan might fit in between our Class 5A and Class 4A teams. They’ll see some good teams and I believe they will be competitive.”
The Lady Demons fly out of Oklahoma City mid-day Wednesday. They play three games Friday, two Saturday and return Sunday.
Competing in Pool A, they open against Regis Jesuit of Aurora at 9 a.m., then play Adams City of Commerce City at 3 and Poudre of Fort Collins at 5. A game against Fort Collins is scheduled Saturday at 9 with a fifth game and opponent determined by earlier successes or losses.
“It’s a nice trip for us,” Coach Robert Cowan said. “We look forward to it and we hope it might get others interested in our sport. It’s the No. 1 thing we do. It’s something of a reward for the hard work our girls put into the game. Our hope is others will learn about the trip and come out to play with us.”
It will cost between $8,000 and $10,000 to cover expenses for the 20-plus travel party. Funds are generated through fund-raising efforts led by Cowan. No school monies or vehicles are involved. It is the second time for the team to fly.
Fossil Ridge of Fort Collins, playing in Pool B, is the favorite. It made a run at the national title a year ago and returns the nucleus of that squad.
Colorado, Pilcher said, is a fast-pitch softball hotbed, but fall ball is limited. Schools in Colorado, Oklahoma, Iowa and Georgia play in the fall. The sport is more wide spread as a spring sport.
The Duncan adventure blends athletics and sightseeing. When not practicing or playing, the Lady Demon party will tour the Estes Park area and perhaps take in a Colorado Rockies major league baseball game.
Triple Crown Sports is a sports marketing firm based in Fort Collins.