16U Force raising funds to travel to national tournament

July 12, 2012 

The Washington Force 16U Black softball team will hold several fundraisers for its upcoming trip to Montgomery, Ala., for the 2012 USA/ASA Girls A 16U Fastpitch National Championship.

The Force, which won the state tournament last weekend at the Southridge Sports and Events Complex, must come up with money for player airfare, lodging, food and incidentals during the national championship, which goes from July 29 to Aug. 5.

Force coach Casey Emery said the costs could hit between $20,000 and $25,000.

“When everything’s said and done, we’re gonna be there for about nine days, so it’s a pretty expensive venture,” Emery said.

To help offset some of the costs, the Force will hold a car wash across the street from Costco on West Gage Boulevard in Kennewick from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

“We’re doing a raffle during the car wash, so the parents are getting golf rounds, gas cards and donations,” said Emery, who added that the players would meet at 9 a.m. today with another Force coach, Stephanie Hogan, for more planning.

“They’re going to drive around to a bunch of businesses and see what they can do monetarily or to donate to the raffle,” Emery said. “Everyone’s getting after it because then you have your families to take, too.”

Also, a skills clinic fundraiser for girls ages 7-16 will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. July 23-24 at Columbia Playfield in Richland. The cost is $40. For more information, emails can be sent to tcforce96@hotmail.com.

Financial donations for the trip can be made by writing a check payable to WA Force Softball and mailing it to Emery at 211 Bernard Ave., Richland, WA 99352. Donations also can be submitted via PayPal to tcforce96@hotmail.com.

Emery said the players are motivated to make sure they can afford this trip with their families, especially because the odds of qualifying for nationals are low. Emery estimated that out of 50-60 teams in the Northwest, 10 percent get to go.

“I basically told them: ‘This is probably the only time you’ll ever have the opportunity to go. You don’t want to have any regrets,’ ” Emery said. “We talked expenses, we talked through it, and I asked them who was going. All 10 of them raised their hands then and there, and no one has wavered.”

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