TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Hundreds of young athletes are in Topeka to play in a softball championship. With intense heat sticking around the next few days there are some concerns over safety.
This isn’t the first time the USSSA championship is in Topeka, but organizers say this is the first year that they’re having to play in such dangerous heat.
More than 40 teams from seven different states will be taking over Topeka’s softball fields to compete. The players are already fierce competitors – after all, you have to be among the best to even make it to this competition. But this week they have an unexpected challenge ahead of them: the heat.
Alexa Dispirito from Midwest Sports Productions, the organization that sponsors the tournament said they’re ready.
“It definitely has not been that hot in years prior so we’re taking extra caution working to prepare ourselves and all our parents coaches, even parents, umpires,” Dispirito said.
Nate Greer, Shawnee Co. Parks and Rec Sports Events Manager said they’re ready to help out too.
“It’s the hottest time of the year so far of course, so working on taking extra precautions: ice, water, opening the events center in case anybody needs it,” Greer said.
They’re all making safety the priority.
“Expecting them to play their hardest and compete they need to be well taken care of. That stems down from coaches and beyond making sure these athletes are taken care of and us doing our responsibility as well to ensure that,” Dispirito said.
Ultimately they’re not going to let it get in the way of what they came here to do.
“They’ve been working for this all year long. So they get to come out here and compete with the best teams in their division and lay it all on the line and someone will become a national championship team at the end of the week,” Dispirito said.
“If you want to come out and watch some really good softball and have a good day with your family, it would be a great opportunity to have a good time,” Greer said.
Both tournament organizers and the city said this is a great partnership. Topeka gets lots of revenue from these teams and the teams say Topeka is a great host city. Overall Shawnee County Parks and Rec says the softball and baseball tournaments they’re holding this year are bringing in more than $5 million for Shawnee county.