‘Blast’ keeping players sharp
BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
The Endless Mountain Blast U14 travel softball team looks to keep area players sharp by exposing them to a high level of competition through the summer months.
The Blast, set up for girls between ages of 12 and 14, has two squads, one coached by Tiger varsity coach John Keefe, and the other coached by Harry Darling.
The squads play in games from May to August with the girls traveling each weekend to tournaments in the southern tier of New York and in the southern part of Pennsylvania.
The Blast first started as a U12 organization to provide a supplement for girls who wanted to play softball during the summer.
“Teener softball wasn’t organized very well then,” Keefe said. “And we wanted a way to keep the kids involved.”
He said at the time, the only places they could go to play in the summer was either Wilkes-Barre or Binghamton.
Throughout the years, the Blast has had players from Tunkhannock, Wyoming Area, Lake Lehman, Dallas, Montrose and more.
“My goal has always been to improve the quality of softball in the area in general,” Keefe said. “And we always have a great group of girls.”
Keefe said the team travels to tournaments on Saturdays and will play several games to decide the pooling for Sunday’s tournament bracket.
“On Sunday it’s always win or go home,” Keefe said. “So we always try to play five or more games each weekend.”
On average the players get to play in 30 to 50 games each summer against solid pitching.
Keefe sees the Blast as a sort of “starter” travel team.
“It’s the first travel team a lot of these girls will be on,” Keefe said. “So it shows them what it’s like to play travel softball.”
Keefe said throughout the years he has seen benefits of keeping the Blast team going.
“I definitely reap the benefits,” Keefe said. “Out of 18 girls we had on the varsity team this past year, all but three had been on the Blast.”
For more information on the Blast visit www.eteamz.com/endlessmtblast.
This year’s rosters for the Blast teams include:
U14 – Keefe
*Samantha Banks (Wyoming Sem)
*Olivia Cruz (Wyalusing Area)
*Sydney Faux (Tunkhannock Area)
*Katelyn Hawley (Tunkhannock Area)
*Sarah Heffler (North Pocono)
*Kady Hodge (Tunkhannock Area)
*Rachel Johnson (Tunkhannock Area)
*Maddie Kelley (Dallas)
*Paige Mokychic (Tunkhannock Area)
*Kristi Ann Skok (Wyoming Area)
*Whitney Tyler (Elk Lake)
*Sydney Walters (Tunkhannock Area)
U14 – Darling
*Samantha Baltustraitis (Lackawanna Trail)
*Jennifer Bulford (Tunkhannock Area)
*Katie Epler (Wyalusing Area)
*Grace Gober (Wyoming Area)
*Mady Heller (Crestwood)
*Danielle Krispin (Tunkhannock Area)
*Madison Lee (Lackawanna Trail)
*Amanda Mowry (Elk Lake)
*Kailey Reposa (Tunkhannock Area)
*Sarah Traver (Tunkhannock Area)
*Emily Wanko (Wyoming Area)
*Kyleigh Jo Ward (Wyalusing Area)