Local events attract teams

The summer is in full swing with the start of the La Cañada Junior Baseball and Softball Assn.'s 2010 La Cañada Summer Smash.

The competition began last weekend, and the softball tournament will continue this weekend.

"The tournament went really well," tournament director Jack Johnson said. "We had 43 teams and played 75 games, and it all went very smoothly."

La Cañada, the tournament's host, emerged as the champions of the Bronco 12 Division. Each division was won by a team from a different city: Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks, the Palisades Waves, Toluca Lake Titans and Simi Valley Blue.

The Summer Smash tournament is in its fifth year, as it aims to continue to supply smaller towns with an opportunity to square off against similarly sized cities to ensure competitive play.

Now that the baseball tournament is complete, the focus will shift to softball.

During the Fourth of July weekend, from Friday to Sunday, the LCJBSA will host its fifth annual softball tournament at the La Cañada High School and Flintridge Prep softball fields.

Twenty-six teams will be coming from Fillmore, Santa Rosa, La Crescenta and other towns to compete in the tournament. Games will start on Friday at 8 a.m. and will go until 2 p.m. Sunday.

The softball tournament has a different goal than the Summer Smash, though. The event serves as a state qualifier for the teams who are competing. The top three teams in their respective divisions will go on to compete in regional tournaments in San Diego.

"We feel pretty strong about this tournament," said Scott Cox, vice president of softball with LCJBSA. "In general, if you take a look at the level of play, this tournament features the best teams of recreation leagues. They put on entertaining, quality ball. It's a faster game than baseball and is more exciting, I think."

Cox said his daughter, Lauren Cox, has gone from taking part in the event to becoming one of the star pitchers for La Cañada High.

"These tournaments are really a feeder system for the high schools," Scott Cox said. "It's neat to watch the kids in high school and look back and remember what it was like when they played in these tournaments."

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