By Jake Thompson
— Some decisions are easier than others and when the Indiana 16U Gators fastpitch softball team won the Diamonds of the South tournament in early June, it came with an opportunity for four — Cascade’s Morgan Burch, Kellie Mink, Kate Breedlove and Danville’s Delaney Stephens — Hendricks County girls.
With their win, the Gators secured a spot for the 16U ASA/USA National Tournament A Division held July 28 to Aug. 4 in Sunnyvale, Calif., if they choose to go.
If the Gators decided not to seize the moment, the team they defeated would be eligible to attend in their stead.
But, why would the Gators choose not to go?
Cost was the major downside as it was estimated with one parent and player the monies needed would be $1,800 and with two parents, close to $2,300.
After a team meeting, the Gators decided to grab the once-in-a-lifetime experience and started some fundraising activities in an effort to lessen the families’ costs.
“With events yet to come in from this week and stuff still ahead, we don’t know exactly where we sit,” Gators team manager Beth Carter said. “We might be a quarter of the way there. We will know better by the week’s end where we sit.”
This past week the Gators offered hitting camps at Midwest Sports Complex Monday and Wednesday. Tuesday, Orange Leaf in Brownsburg donated 10 percent of the day’s proceeds.
Parents and players have started selling candy bars and laundry detergent to raise money.
Saturday, there will be a pancake breakfast from 7:30 to 10 a.m. at the Longhorn Steakhouse near Southport Road and I-65 and the cost is set at $9 for an all-you-can-eat breakfast. Primarily, family members will man this event as the girls have other obligations.
“Our parents and grandparents are coming out to do this so we can play,” Stephens said. “My grandpa is even going over to help. It just means a lot to know they’re willing to do so much for us.”
However, the girls will not get out of working.
In exchange for their tournament fee, the Gators will line the fields for all the teams and get those fields ready for each game that’s played.
On July 8, the Gators are offering a semi-truck wash for $40 at the I-65 and 44 Franklin exit. At this event the girls will be the primary workers with a few parent supervisors.
Carter said there would be a “captive audience” as the drivers have an hour or so while their trucks are loaded.
Companies or individuals wishing to sponsor the Gators will have their names listed on the Indiana Gators website.
Checks may be made payable to Indiana Gators Gold and sent to 899 Revere Ct., Greenwood, IN, 46142.
“I’ve seen random people I barely know giving money to our cause and it’s awesome,” Stephens said. “Everyone on the team is coming together to make this happen.”