SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Youth softball teams from across the Midwest have converged upon Sioux Falls for the annual Ringneck Softball invitational. While the pandemic has altered the way it looks, the tournament continues to provide high-level competition.
The sound of cheers filled Sherman Park on Saturday.
“They are so happy to be here. Happy to be able to play their game. It’s fun to see the girls, the camaraderie even though we have to do our social distancing. The game and to play it is still within all of us so it’s great to see it going on,” Tournament Director Cheryl Morgan said.
The tournament is using strict time limits for games, providing longer breaks between contests, and closing its stands to fans to promote social distancing.
“It’s our 43rd Ringneck. It’s great to see the girls out here. We’re down a few teams. We’re normally full at 132 and we got 113,” Morgan said.
Among those teams not able to make the trip to Sioux Falls were the Canadian teams.
“We’re in our 43rd year this year. They’ve been coming since we’ve got it going. So we’re kind of missing them and so hopefully next year with things changing, our new normal, they’ll be able to be here for that tournament then,” Morgan said.
But other teams, like the Kansas Valor out of Topeka, made their first trip to Sioux Falls.
“Really pretty. Everyone’s really nice. We noticed that in the hotel. We were in the elevators, and every single person talks to us, and everyone’s really nice,” Kansas Valor Player Brooklyn Jordan said.
“It’s been really pretty. And like the falls, a couple of our teammates have been there, and it’s really nice,” Kansas Valor Player Taylor Dekok said.
And the players are taking full advantage of getting to play the sport they love.
“Super fun. Super excited and glad we’re getting the opportunity to play. This is our first out of state tournament so it’s been pretty fun,” Jordan said.
“I was definitely excited that we got to play because when our high school season got canceled we didn’t think anything was going to happen. So we’re glad to be out here,” Dekok said.
The tournament concludes on Sunday.