This weekend’s Triple Crown Fastpitch event in southern California will do more than just sharpen the skills of players and give parents a chance to support the dreams of their daughters.
In fact, support is the underlying theme of the second annual Play for Hope Memorial Tournament, which will be played May 11-12 in and around Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley. The event was renamed to honor the memory of Emma Pangelinan, a skilled softball player who took her own life in 2018 and has come to symbolize the perilous state of mental health in youth all around the country.
At this year’s tournament, there will be more dedicated effort to confront the issue, as all the action will stop (every field, every location) for about an hour on Saturday as organizers will livestream a presentation at Huntington Beach Sports Complex designed to increase awareness of what undermines the mental health of teenagers.
"I have spent the last 15 years at the ball field and have seen the game grow so much, yet more and more young girls seem to feel inadequate largely in part to the 'pressures' of the game," said Travis Cotsenmoyer, director of SoCal Fastpitch for Triple Crown. "I have four kids under the age of 8, and three who are girls. I obviously worry about them and these same feelings they will soon face. I hope this message can help many young people be successful, have fun, and be confident in themselves while doing it."
Confirmed speakers are collegiate coaching legend Sue Enquist, Firecrackers softball coach Tony Rico, Jen Schroeder of the Packaged Deal softball program, softball parent Melissa Romero and psychologist Dr. Casey Cooper. There will be team activities during the hour; the livestream begins at 11:30 a.m. PT.
Participating players will be given a butterfly sticker to be placed on their batting helmet, intended to signal a higher appreciation for self-confidence and self-worth.
This tournament will break ground again by implementing #SilentSunday, where in the first inning of the first game Sunday, ONLY athletes and umpires are encouraged to have their voices heard. It’s an experiment to see how the environment of fastpitch might look without some of the typical static coming from the stands and dugouts.
“We are excited about our tournament takeover and Silent Softball campaign to help draw awareness around allowing girls to have fun playing and not feeling the pressure to be perfect,” said Enquist.
You can watch the livestream from the Play for Hope Memorial Tournament here: