BOULDER — While Boulder-area residents spend the second half of this week prepping their grills and sparklers for next week's Fourth of July festivities, hundreds of the country's best prep softball players will unpack their gear and go at it in the annual Boulder Independence Day Tournament all across Boulder and the surrounding cities.
For the 21st consecutive summer, the Boulder IDT is on tap for July 4th weekend and the tournament is still going as strong as ever. And for softball players, coaches and fans in the area, the opportunity to host one of the year's biggest summer club showcases is a big deal.
This year's tournament will begin on Wednesday with pool play, which will last through Friday. There will be two 18-under divisions, one in Boulder and one in Louisville, a 16U division that will be held in Longmont and a 14U division that will play in Broomfield.
The 18U Boulder division will play at Stazio Fields and the East Mapleton Fields. The 18U Louisville division will play at Louisville Sports Complex, the 16U division will play at Garden Acres Complex in Longmont, and the 14U division will play at Community Park Fields in Broomfield.
Five local-area teams from the Colorado Stars program will play across the three divisions. The Colorado Psyclones '99 club from the Denver area will enter into 18U division.
Last summer, the SoCal Athletics won the premier 18U Boulder division. California's OC Batbusters program won both the 18U Louisville and 14U tournaments. Georgia's East Cobb Bullets won the 16U bracket.
A number of teams from each of last year's winning programs will return in each of the Boulder IDT divisions this season.
The local Fourth of July tournament isn't just a competitive venue for some of the nation's top club programs. It is also a showcase for college prospects of all ages to make an impression on a number of college coaches and scouts who annual attend the event.
Throughout the 2016 Boulder IDT, 311 coaches representing 245 collegiate programs signed-in at the college coach registration table. The majority of the attending programs were NCAA Division-I schools. Officials from the Division II, Division III, NAIA and JUCO ranks were also in attendance last year.