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Athletes Try to Toughen Out the Heat | News

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Athletes Try to Toughen Out the Heat

LAS VEGAS -- Organizers cut a tournament short last weekend after a player and umpire needed to be treated for heat-related illness.

Teams of young athletes were out in the heat Sunday competing for a chance to play in a national championship.

Some of the softball players at the Premier Girls Fast Pitch Tournament played five games Saturday and returned Sunday for three more.

Maddie Smith lost track of how many bottles of water she drank.

"I mean we have to wear shin guards and a chest protector and a helmet, and we're constantly in the game," said Smith, who's the catcher for the OC Lionettes. "So, it's a little bit hot."

Smith has been playing softball for as long as she can remember, but she can't recall a tournament more grueling than this one.

"This is actually my first time ever doing this. I don't think we've ever faced this hot of heat with this many games," Smith said. "It's definitely a challenge."

The OC Lionettes played five games Saturday, two in the morning and three at night.

The team played three more times on Sunday with their biggest opponent being the Las Vegas heat. 

The winners of the tournament go on to compete in Huntington Beach, California in hopes of catching the attention of college coaches. That's why they braved the heat last weekend. 

Organizers said they prepared for the heat by rescheduling mid-day games and moving them to early in the morning or late at night. They also requested paramedics be ready at the field.

"I definitely need to be aware, and I definitely took every precaution I could before the event started to ensure everyone's safety," said tournament director Kelly Commerford. "If we would have played though all day, that would have been a little scary."

Smith said for her and her team, not playing was not an option. "We've played our whole life. Why not keep playing?" she said.

One girl needed to be treated for heat related symptoms Saturday. On Sunday, a girl on the Lionettes was treated, along with an umpire for a different game who had to be rushed to the hospital.

Organizers cut the last game in the tournament short in the third inning, because it was too hot to continue.