PHILADELPHIA - With all the year-round club softball being played, it can get difficult at times to distinguish one marathon, five games in a day, tournament from another.
One tournament that stands alone is the Carpenter Cup, sponsored and run by the Philadelphia Phillies, with the opening days held in FDR park and the final at Ashburn Park.
The purpose of the Softball Carpenter Cup since its inception in 2005 has been to give the best high school players in the tri-state area the opportunity to showcase their talents for college scouts.
The hope is that this tournament, like the baseball Carpenter Cup Classic, will be a catalyst for many players to receive scholarships or admission to some of the country's finest universities.
The inaugural tournament, played in June, 2005, was won by Delaware South (Gold) claiming the first title. Since then, South has recorded its second title as well as two championships to the credit of the Lehigh Valley squad, slated to play Tuesday, and Jersey Shore, who won two games on Monday.
The excitement and anticipation was visible on the faces of Pottsgove’s Taylor Robinson, Jessica Kurtz and Owen J. Roberts junior hurler Maddie Galdi as the trio readied themselves for a day in the trenches.
“This is awesome just being here,” said Robinson. “The Carpenter Cup is such a big deal, we play in tournaments all the time in travel ball (for the Avalanche), but nothing compares to this. It has been amazing getting to know girls that usually we are trying to beat.”
Robinson, who was two-for-two with two runs scored and a double, helped propel the Chester County squad to a nine- three win over the 2009 champion, Delaware South all stars to advance into the winners bracket semifinal for group A, which included a team from Tri-Cape (NJ), Philadelphia Catholic League, Delaware North (DE), Suburban One American/Continental, Olympic/Colonial (NJ) and Jersey Shore (NJ).
“It was weird at first playing with all of the new girls, but they are amazingly talented,” said Robinson. “I was very excited and a little nervous at first, but once the game started, the softball instincts take over and we have to focus on winning each game.”
“This is freakin unbelievable,” said Jess Kurtz. “I pretty much have a big mouth so I love having the job of being the vocal leader of the team. It’s pretty cool playing outfield with Taylor and (Perk Valley junior Brittany Shoemaker) who I play with on my high school team and travel ball. It's great having so much speed out here.”
Owen J. Roberts junior Madison Galdi didn’t have the luxury of working through any nerves she may have been experiencing as the Wildcats hurler was called on to take the hill in the opening game.
“It was such an honor to get the start,” said Galdi. “A a pitcher, it is so great to have such an amazing defense behind you . . . I am glad to be here representing my team, but also want to show that I have the good work ethic and always go one-hundred percent. That will be valuable to any college team.
The Chester County squad battled Tri-Cape in the second round but dropped a tough five-four contest, which puts the locals in the 9 a.m. slot Wednesday in the shadows of Citizen’s Bank Park where they will square off against Philadelphia Catholic League, who dropped their second round game to Suburban One League A&C five-zero in a tilt where the loser goes home and the winner will advance to the quarterfinals in the 16-team double elimination tournament.
“It’s fun playing with so many great girls and I have actually made a lot of new friends,” said Kurtz. “When we take the field though, we only have one thing on our mind, to stay focused and win the games.”