Local players compete in Tampa Tournament

Fourteen members of the Steel City Softball League competed for the sixth consecutive year at the Gasparilla Softball Classic tournament, held in Tampa, Fla., over Presidents Day weekend, Feb. 15-16.

The team representing Pittsburgh competed under the name Pittsburgh Pride and began play on Saturday morning with a 23-14 victory against the Alibi Angles from Ft. Lauderdale. The Pride jumped to an early 4-0 lead against the San Diego Puss and Boots in its next game, but the San Diego team rallied to an 8-5 lead. A controversial call by the home plate umpire later played a critical role in a 15-9 loss for the Pride. Saturday’s final game pitted the Pride against the Tampa City Side, a match that ended with a resounding 20-1 victory for the Pittsburgh team.

Sunday’s slate of games kicked off with a 17-13 win for the Pride over Blind Justice from Tampa, followed by a close contest against another local team, the Tampa Tropics. The Pride held a three-run lead going into the seventh and final inning, but by the top half the score was tied at 13. Mike K. led off the inning for the Pride with a single but was thrown out on a close call at third following a double by Tony G. The winning run scored on a two-out base hit by first baseman Todd H. for a 14-13 final score over the Tropics.

In a rematch between the Pride and the Alibi Angles, the score was tied at 8 until the top of the fourth inning when the Angles scored 10 runs. Pittsburgh responded by scoring five runs in the fourth inning and four more in the bottom of the fifth, but the Pride’s hitting fell short and the team lost 18-17 for an overall weekend record of 4-2.

Pittsburgh Pride players included Ralph M., Darin S., Mike K., Scott D., Greg C., Tony G., Frank M., Mark V., Jimmy K., Todd H., Don C., Josh N., Darrell P. and Joe O.
Team manager Ralph M. said, “The entire team hit the ball extremely well and MVP Don C. played terrifically. My teammates are such a great group of guys and I am fortunate to be associated with them. I would also like to thank our sponsor Tony G. and all the fans that came to Tampa with us.”