We hit a record-breaking 108 degrees Thursday in DFW, but that didn't stop young athletes across North Texas from enjoying a summertime staple: softball.
"I just really love the game," says Jaryn Nelson, a catcher with the 'Sneaky Cleats' fastpitch softball team out of Hallsville. Teammate Lily Soto agrees, "I'm just dedicated," says Soto, 14. "Ever since I picked up a softball, I love it."
So even during the blistering heat, these fastpitch softball players are, well, having a ball.
"I'm back there in the catching gear. It's so hot. Like, crazy hot," says Nelson– who then quickly reiterates that she loves it. "I live for it."
The passion is great. But, coaches and organizers still take precautions.
"Anytime you got kids out here doing this, you get concerned," says the Sneaky Cleats' coach, Joel Barbosa. His plan? "Watch them… make sure that they're drinking. Make sure that they're sweating…that's another big one. If you don't have sweat, you don't have water, so you have to watch out for that."
Dedicated parents are watching for signs of trouble, as well. Even as they craft a sideline heat plan for themselves.
"We have tents, you find trees, you drink plenty of fluids, you eat right and you get a good night's rest," says parent Anthony Soto, who says he grew up loving the game and believes it builds character– even in the heat.
"You have to have the stamina, you have to have the will and the heart, and commitment to last in this heat," adds Soto, Lily's Dad. "They enjoy it."
Still, tournament organizers say they've added extra staff to make sure they can respond quickly to any heat emergencies.
"We're running around from field to field, taking water, taking ice, making sure our empires are in the shade, making sure staff are staying hydrated," says Marissa Moore with DFW Fastpitch, the tournament organizers. "Make sure we're on our toes for whatever can happen."
Moore says already at least one spectator and player has gotten in trouble during the heat. But, they were quickly cooled, given water and are expected to be okay.
The heatwave is expected to stick around for a few more days– and so will the players. The tournament runs through Sunday at fields in Plano, Frisco and McKinney. So…
"Drink lots of water: that's the main thing," says Lily Soto. "And when you're not playing, stay in the shade and root your teammates, on!"
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