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Rivals in the spring, teammates in the summer

Published: Friday, June 27, 2014 8:41 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, June 27, 2014 11:42 p.m. CDT
Monica Maschak - mmaschak@shawmedia.com The Kishwaukee Valley Storm 18U team huddle between innings during the Storm Dayz softball tournament at Sycamore Park on Friday, June 27, 2014. The Storm is comprised of several area high school softball players.

SYCAMORE – Throughout the spring, Tristyn Criswell and Lindsey Costliow were rivals.

This weekend, and for many weekends over the summer, they are just one example of DeKalb and Sycamore players who team up in travel ball. This weekend's site was the 14th annual Storm Dayz Tournament, which began Friday and ends Sunday at Sycamore Park.

Criswell is one of three Spartans, along with Jasmyne Taylor and Brooke English, on the 18U Storm's roster while Tayler Garland is the other DeKalb Barb.

When the group of players gets together for summer ball, the whole animosity with the rivalry is lost.

"The girls that I have this year have played together for several years. I think, if anything, it's actually helped in the rivalry between DeKalb-Sycamore," Storm 18U coach Jim Varga said. "Here, they're one. They're family. And they go to the high schools and they want to beat each other up, and it ends on the field. Here, they really became a unit this year. Last year, too."

For Criswell, who was Sycamore's shortstop this past season, playing against her Storm teammates in high school ball is, in a way, weird.

"During high school, it's funny, because we'll play each other and it's kind of hard to take [the rivalry] seriously at first because we've played with each other the summer," Criswell said. "Over the summer, it's no big deal."

Criswell said playing her Storm teammates in high school ball can be challenging because each player knows the other's tendencies – what they can hit, what they don't like, where they excel. When the Storm season rolls around, there's some light banter between players from the rival schools, but for the most part it's kept fun.

"We all laugh about it and stuff. There's times at [Storm] practice, where there's Sycamore girls and DeKalb girls," Costliow said. "We're like, we're the DeKalb girls, we're going to rock this team if we scrimmage each other. Really just mess around."

At the same time, the amount of prep rivals concentrated around travel ball makes the rivalry a little more friendly.

"It eases tensions, too," Criswell said. "It's like, I know half those girls, it's going to be fun. It takes the pressure off."

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