Softball: Rain wipes out two top events

It didn’t matter if it was in Anaheim Hills or Livermore, there was too much wet weather last weekend throughout the state. As a result, both the Michelle Carew Classic and Livermore Stampede, two of the state’s top in-season softball tournaments, were severely curtailed.

Way back when, kids in grammar school would sing a song when rain meant recess had to be spent indoors.

“Rain, rain, go away, come again another day,” they would sing, to which the teacher would respond. “But children, April showers bring May flowers.”

In the Michelle Carew Classic and in the 22 years the Livermore Stampede have been contested, rain had not prevented either tournament from crowning a champion. That is until last weekend when both the top girls’ softball tournaments in Southern and Northern California were rained out.

“I took a couple of years off when I coached JC but we are in our 31st tournament since we started in 1984 with 32 teams as the Canyon Tournament of Champions,” said Carew Classic director and longtime Southern California softball coach Lance Eddy. “We’ve had to reschedule games because of rain but in the first years and the 19 years since it was renamed in memory and honor of Michelle Carew, we’ve never not crowned a champion.”

Former Canyon of Anaheim coach Lance Eddy stands with Stephanie, sister of the namesake of the Michelle Carew Classic softball tourney. We once put Stephanie (daughter of Rod Carew) on the cover of Student Sports' national magazine. Photo:

Former Canyon of Anaheim coach Lance Eddy stands with Stephanie, sister of the namesake of the Michelle Carew Classic softball tourney. We once put Stephanie (daughter of Rod Carew) on the cover of Student Sports’ national magazine. Photo:

Rain may have meant only a portion of the field was able to complete the quarterfinals this year but Eddy has not given up keeping the streak alive.

The plan is to get the championship bracket played out over the next couple of weeks and then play a finals and third-place doubleheader on a Saturday later in the month at Canyon of Anaheim. The lineup looks like this with completed and non-completed quarterfinals:

In the Top Bracket, Arizona’s Canyon del Oro defeated Capistrano Valley of Mission Viejo, 11-9, but that team had to return to Tucson so they retire from the tournament without a forfeit. Huntington Beach will play California of Whittier sometime this next week with the winner getting a bye to the finals.

In the Lower Bracket, Orange Lutheran was a 2-0 winner over Amador Valley of Pleasanton. Mission Viejo and Los Alamitos have a suspended game to be mutually rescheduled. The winner will then be scheduled for a semifinal with Orange Lutheran.

“I’m pushing these guys because we’ve never had a washout and I don’t want one now, but it’s tough because everyone is in league,” Eddy continued.

The Livermore Stampede made it through Pool play meaning all 16 teams got three games, but there are no plans to try and complete the Championship, Stampede or Bronco Flights.

Robertson Park is booked and there isn’t a high school venue that can be secured on such a short notice.

“We’re done,” said former Livermore coach and Stampede organizer Larry Bird. “We’ve discussed it all and nothing is going to work out. Teams are already scheduling makeup games so unfortunately we’re just going to have to wait until next year.”

The four Championship Flight teams that all went 3-0 were scheduled to meet in the semis and finals that had been pushed back to Saturday late afternoon and night but no delay could forestall the inevitable.

The Whitney of Rocklin versus Freedom of Oakley, and the anticipated match-up between two-time Stampede champion Sheldon of Sacramento and state-ranked Alhambra of Martinez are off the charts, but not completely.

With so many teams in Northern California getting a huge chunk of their seasons wiped out by rain everyone that was in the Stampede field is scrambling to find games against top-notch opponents. Among the makeup games Bird mentioned is a matchup between Alhambra and Sheldon that resurrects the washed out semifinal.

“We’ve agreed to play and its going to be next Saturday at 11 am at our place,” said Sheldon Coach Mary Jo Truesdale, who won the Stampede in 2008 and 2010.

Another game that is in the works is Amador Valley of Pleasanton and Alhambra, and the way it looks that one would likely be for bragging rights in the CIF North Coast Section.

“Both Amador Valley and us have some possibilities for other games so playing them hasn’t been finalized yet,” said Alhambra head coach Paul Buccellato. “Whitney and Freedom are possibilities, and we’d like to play one or two more of the teams in the Stampede Championship Flight, but Castro Valley and Heritage (Brentwood) have also expressed interest. Most of the Stampede teams are looking for games.”

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