Remember the team that we profiled last month which was gifted a shoutout (more like a “Woo!!”) in a video from legendary WWE wrestler Rick Flair?
If not, you must see check out this story: Video - Seniors for Firecrackers - Bias Get the Ric Flair Sendoff… WOO!
A half dozen of the 2020 graduated players on that that squad made news this past weekend in another fun way as they formed a “new” team with their friends and siblings so they call could play together one last time before leaving for college.
The players—coming from all over Florida including Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa—decided to call themselves the Screwballs and compete in the USSSA Hot August Days & Confused Tournament in Palmetto, Florida last weekend (August 8-9).
But what made this one-time team unique was that it didn’t have adults helping out or managing the team for the tournament…. it was run by the players themselves and they did everything including warm-ups, lineups, coaching and setting the positions.
The team was made up of six players from the Firecrackers Florida – Bias 18U team, two from a Firecrackers 14U team, one from Gold Coast Hurricanes and one who played high school ball only and hasn’t played travel in a couple of years.
The team roster included the following players:
- P/IF Maegan Osmond (2020, Smith College)
- P/1B Faith Campopiano (2020, Webber International)
- OF/IF Kyleigh Sprigle (2020, Webber International)
- 2B Sammi Groves (2020, University of New England)
- SS/3B Sierra Huddle (2021, uncommitted)
- OF Nikky Miller (2020, Florida, non-softball)
- C Adriana Crespo (2021, uncommitted)
- OF/IF Gabby Campopiano (2024, uncommitted)
- 3B/1B Reagan DeBerry (2024, uncommitted)
- OF Alyssa Bardsley (2020, uncommitted)
How did the team do without adult leadership?
The Firecrackers went 4-1 and won the championship game, 2-0, against Tampa Mustangs after taking a thrilling 9-inning semi-final win.
Paul Osmond, a coach in the Firecrackers organization and father to Maegan Osmond, chronicled the experience in an entertaining Facebook post which he gave us permission to reprint (see below).
Downplaying his input, the coach/dad told Extra Inning Softball: “I really did nothing but register the team and organize a hotel for everyone to stay at. They did the rest. I just scored (the games)! It was a great experience for everyone!”
Here is his version of the experience for the players and how they did it all themselves!
So this last weekend of softball was different.
A few weeks ago, I asked the girls I help coach: "Why don't you put a team together, just for fun."
They asked who would coach it and I said, “Well, you would.”
"Who would play?" they asked. “That is up to you as well.”
I explained I would help get the team registered and other details like hotels, but everything else would be on them. They liked the idea.
After a few invites and some “yes's” and “no's” and “maybe's,” we had a team. They came up with a team name: Screwballs. One of the parents said, “I can turn uniforms around in a week for cheap” so we got uniforms.
It was awesome.
These girls always have fun playing, but this was clearly FUN!
We had sisters who have never been on the same team because they are four years apart. We also had player who hadn't played a game in over a year; a girl who only played high school and missed playing; some high school teammates; some younger girls and some older girls…. Basically, just a bunch of friends enjoying the game.
First game, (Coaches) Maegan and Faith went out to the umpire meeting and the following conversation took place:
“Where are your coaches?”
“We are the coaches.”
“Where are the adults?”
“We are the adults.”
And off they went. They batted everyone. They rotated positions inning after inning. Sometimes they put a base coach out, sometimes they didn't. They teased each other from the dugout. They laughed and smiled. They always played hard. They executed - including two of the best extra innings you will ever see.
The umpires, the tournament director and some of the opposing coaches and teams loved what they were doing (thought some need to relax a little!). Many people came up to us and said, "They look they are having so much fun playing!"
As for us parents, we sat under our tents and had a good time supporting the players—nothing beats watching your kid have a good time! And, in the end, they made the championship game and won!
That is how to finish a weird season… thank you to everyone who helped make it a reality!
Lastly, I will probably always remember overhearing hearing an opposing parent say to another, "We just got beaten by a team called Screwballs with no coaches," and the other parent said, "What does that tell you?"
-- Paul Osmond,