BROOMFIELD — Dawn Gaffin has been around softball long enough to understand that her word is not the end all be all.

She is also smart enough to know that the more coaching her girls receive over the summer, the better they will be when they don the navy and gold in the fall.

Every single one of the Legacy Lightning players that filled her roster last season — none of whom graduated — will be in action this weekend at any one of the multiple 4th of July tournaments. The Firecracker, the Sparkler and the Independence Day tournament will showcase the best of the best from all over the country.

"I like for them to get away from me, and I know that is funny to say, but it is probably one of the biggest compliments I get from my kids when they get back in the fall," Gaffin said. "That they can't wait to get back and have 'real' practices."

Some of Legacy's best — notably catcher Emily Taggart and outfielder Katelyn Kubitschek — will each play in the Fireworks Tournament.

There always seems to be a Legacy presence on the Corona Angels team from California that annually contends for a spot in the finals of the Boulder Independence Day gathering and this year is no different. Sophomore-to-be Isabella Kelly will return home with the tournament heavyweights.


"They can learn anything from any coach, anywhere," Gaffin said. "And that is important too, come back and tell me something important you learned, something you think we should do or try that might work for us.

"I have that pow-wow with each individual girl during tryouts and cuts, get that information from them and move forward from there."

Unlike the majority of the high school season that is predominantly pitching dominated, the summer games puts a little more emphasis on the hitting aspects of the game.

That's why the college coaches flock to Colorado in groves and are on the constant move between not just the different fields at any given complex, but between the complexes themselves.

"If you can't create RBIs, they don't care what defensive position you play ... if you can't create RBIs, you are not a valuable too for them to consider," said Gaffin, whose ability to get her high school players to the next level is unmatched in the state. "That's why I always tell parents, if you want to put your money somewhere, put it on hitting lessons."

And Gaffin and Co. will take care of the rest. They believe that the on the field work is just as important as the off the field and understand that the little things go a long way.

"They know this is the time for them to be looked at and recruited and (assistant coach) John Whalen and I put on a parent seminar every year about how to make a profile, how to send out letters and how to send an appropriate e-mail," Gaffin said. "What are they looking for? What kind of grades, numbers and when to send this stuff out."

Jon Yunt: or