Softball nationals close to home for Bogard
Jessica Bogard, Tonganoxie, had a small dose of ballpark lights, TV cameras and softball action with the American Softball Association's national tournament July 20-28 at Hidden Valley in Blue Springs, Mo.
Bogard, who will be a sophomore at Tonganoxie High School later this month, competed with the Leavenworth Twisters in the 14-and-under class.
The tournament kicked off with opening ceremonies at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Although the Chiefs are busy in Wisconsin at their training camp, softball players from across the country were being introduced on the Chiefs' home turf.
"It was exciting to be announced in front of all those people," Bogard said.
Part of the ceremony in-cluded team members exchanging gifts with team members of their first op-ponent.
After teams were announced at the ceremonies, a home run derby and base running relay also took place.
The event included Christi Ambrosi, U.S. Olympic softball team member, speaking to the participants. Ambrosi, an Overland Park native, was on the 2000 Olympic team and played for UCLA.
When the actual tournament got underway, the fanfare continued. Bogard said a local television station broadcast 10 tournament games, but the Twisters never made it to the tube.
The Twisters advanced to the tournament's third round, but couldn't advance any further. Bogard was disappointed with the performance.
"Last year I think we did better," Bogard said. "We kind of got in a slump and that didn't help out this year."
Bogard said the competition improved when the team entered nationals.
"Whenever we got to nationals, competition was about eye-level, but through the year we were higher than everyone else," she said. "And you could tell in how we were playing."
Bogard did manage some hits, but said she would have enjoyed a better outing.
"I was not as good as I needed to be," she said.
The Leavenworth team also has players from Easton, Basehor, Leavenworth and Lawrence, along with McLouth's Stephanie and Rachel Thompson. Their father, Pat Thompson, is a Twisters coach.