by Anthony Greer -
SGN Staff Writer
This past weekend, roughly 500 softball players from cities all over the West Coast, Phoenix, and Denver participated in the Emerald City Classic, the Emerald City Softball Association's annual tournament.
On Saturday, the 47 teams played two different games, round-robin style, to determine which division they would be in for the rest of the double-elimination tournament. Once they were separated, each played one game and then continued with the rest of the tournament on Sunday.
After the final games were played, the teams retired to the awards ceremony held at Julia's on Broadway. Among the winners of the 2011 Emerald City Classic were the Portland Assault for the B1 Division, the San Francisco Eclipse for the C1 Division, the Portland Superheroes for the D1 Paradise Division, and the Seattle Monsters for the D1 Sunrise Division. Other awards were given for sportsmanship, spirit, and best uniforms. For a complete list of the awards, and their recipients, visit www.emeraldcitysoftball.org/ecc.
While the softball players themselves were excited to participate in the Emerald City Classic, arguably one of the most excited people was Todd Marsh, a sponsor for the Portland Assault, the B1 Division champions.
'[The Emerald City Classic] is a tournament we look forward to every year. We were defending our title this year, so we really needed to play well. We were first place last year under a different name. & We have played against some of these Seattle players for years and always look forward to seeing them in a tournament atmosphere,' Marsh said.
Marsh started sponsoring the Portland Assault when his partner was filling in slots in their roster several years ago. They discovered that they really enjoyed the team, which resulted in Marsh sponsoring them permanently.
Another sponsor and fan of the ECSA is Barbie Humphrey, the owner of Purr. Currently, she sponsors nine teams.
'I think that it's an awesome thing to do for the community. The bar that I worked at previously, Manray, sponsored teams, and when I opened up Purr, I knew that that was something that I wanted to do because of what it brings to the community and because of the relationships that you build and create from it. It's a great organization,' Humphrey said. 'I'm really good friends with a lot of the players on a lot of the teams that I sponsor, and a lot of that is due to me sponsoring the teams.'
Michael Maddux, who just participated in his second ECC by playing on two teams that combined into one for the Classic (the Seattle Xtreme and the Seattle Throttle), agreed with Humphrey. 'All of the teams get along really, really well regardless of where they're from. ... It's an opportunity to throw down, have fun, play some softball, and go out and get drinks afterwards.'
The ECC itself was played on five different fields: North SeaTac Park, Steven Underwood Memorial Park, Petrovitsky Park, Riverview Playfields, and Moshier Memorial Park. After the games themselves, the players and fans were invited to several nighttime activities including the Friday-night registration party at the Baltic Room, R Place and Purr on Saturday night, and the awards ceremony at Julia's on Broadway on Sunday.
'We were the host bar after the games on Saturday, and on Sunday after the awards ceremony, a lot of the teams were over here and partied all night,' Humphrey said. 'We had a lot of specials for the softball players who were here over the weekend.'
'Purr on Saturday was a lot of fun,' Maddux said. 'I spent a lot of time hanging with the San Fran Storm and the Swallows. On Sunday, my sister plays on the X Machine, so I went and was their batboy for their game. I was invited to be batboy for the Superheroes, and they ended up winning the tournament.'
Maddux will be playing with the Portland Superheroes in the Portland softball tournament next month.
'The ECC is a lot of fun. It's such a great opportunity to meet new softball players and it's all about having a good time. Yeah, you want to win, but you want to have a good time in the process. You also have the opportunity to play with a lot of people you haven't played with before if you'd like. ... It's a really great opportunity,' Maddux said.
Marsh said that he makes all of the Assault's games except for the ones in Phoenix due to tax season. 'I'm out there under my umbrella every day. I love my Assault! It was great seeing both Portland B teams do so well in this tournament. We look forward to seeing some of you guys at the World Series this year in Chicago, and of course in Seattle again next year.'
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