Sycamore’s Tristyn Criswell is used to playing softball against local high school players.
It’s a new feel for Criswell during the summer when she plays on the same team as some of those opposing players who make up the Kishwaukee Valley Storm.
“It was really weird at first,” said Criswell, a catcher/third baseman for one of the Storm’s 16U teams. ”There are a couple of new players on the team that I had seen during the high school season, but we all get along great.”
The players on the KV Storm teams from towns throughout the DeKalb County area are prepared for the 12th annual Storm Dayz tournament. Center fielder Sabrina Killeen, a senior at DeKalb, reflected on how it feels to prepare for the tournament with players from opposing high schools who are now her teammates.
“There are two girls on my team that were the pitchers for Rochelle and Yorkville. I didn’t really know them before this year and it’s interesting to play with those girls,” Killeen said. “But it’s a lot of fun to get the chance to play with them.”
The three-day tournament has seven KV Storm teams participating out of the 76 teams that are set to play this weekend at Sycamore Park.
The head coach for one of the Storm’s two 16U teams, Bill Becker, is optimistic about how the Storm squads will play.
“I think the Storm teams will do very well in the tournament,” Becker said. “People who come out and watch will get to see some very elite players.”
At the end of the tournament, the top two teams in the championship bracket will earn the right to advance to the USSSA National Fastpitch Tournament, which is played at the end of July and beginning of August in Kansas, Missouri and Illinois, depending on the age group.
Becker is looking forward to seeing how the KV Storm teams will play and hopes they acheive first place. He says the diversity of where the girls play high school softball benefits the players.
“The girls come in and have respect for each other and already know the ability of each other,” Becker said. “They have competed against each other and have realized the quality of the other players on the team. I think it helps motivate them to push their games to a higher level.”
Storm Dayz begins at 8 a.m. today and goes through Sunday, when the championship games will be played at 4:45 p.m.