Backwrd claims 14-inch softball title
August 22, 2022 | Metro Sports Report
Runners are allowed to lead off, but they cannot steal. Pitchers can fake a pitch, without balks being called. And the softball is 14 inches, instead of the customary 12 inches or 16.
Those are some of the reasons players like the 14-inch version of slow pitch softball. And they like playing the state tournament at Prospect Meadows.
Twenty-six teams participated in the 2022 USA Softball of Iowa state tournament here this month, the biggest turnout since the event moved to Prospect Meadows in 2019.
The 12-inch softball games feature power hitting and the 16-inch contests feature finesse. Meanwhile, the 14-inch version fits comfortably in between.
“It’s got the best of both worlds,” said Tom Topping, the state commissioner and executive director of USA Softball of Iowa. “There’s a little bit more strategy.”
The Backwrd ballclub claimed the Men’s Major 14-inch title, defeating Kickstand 8-3 in the finals. The Freebirds took the Class A crown, topping Cedar Rapids Meskwaki in the championship game, 10-6. Not Top 10 blanked Parlor City, 12-0, for the Class B title.
Nolan Even and Chad McCarty of Backwrd shared MVP honors in the Major division. Clay Torson of the Freebirds was the MVP in Class A, while Nick Blanchard of Not Top 10 was honored in Class B.
All 26 teams began the tournament in the same division, then were separated into Major, Class A and Class B based on early-round results.
The players enjoy playing on the regulation-size baseball fields at Prospect Meadows, with no temporary fences. That give the outfielders more room to roam and the batters more open spaces. “That’s what nice about playing at Prospect Meadows, with the larger fields,” said Topping.
USA Softball of Iowa features men’s slow-pitch, women’s slow-pitch, men’s fast-pitch, coed and youth programs.