“Can you hang out?”
“No, I’m at a softball tournament,” is what most softball players will tell you how their conversations go with their friends.
Most of those tournaments over the past 14 years took place at the Ballfields at Craig’s Ranch in McKinney.
The park began operations in May 2004 and hosted its first games on May 30. Craig’s Ranch grew with five softball fields and the adjacent nine baseball fields.
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Showcases, 8 a.m. games and 14-hour days — and the girls will tell you it was like a second home. USSSA, Triple Crown and PGF tournaments — even pro fast pitch team Dallas Charge played there for two seasons.
The Region V tournament of the National Junior College Athletic Association was at Craig’s Ranch too. North Central Texas College won the title in 2017; Temple in 2018.
I arrived to Texas in May 2014 with my first softball season coming in 2015. Over that following summer I beat boredom by driving 40 miles up President Bush turnpike before getting off to take Alma Road.
There I made more friendships I can count while watching select softball tournaments.
This went on for the next three summers, capped off this year with the DFW Fast Pitch All-Star game. I was asked to introduce the girls and it was one of the best feelings of my career.
Over the next few months, the final softball tournaments were played. Some players from Texas Glory, one of the top organizations in the nation, came together one final time last week.
Oklahoma State signee and Sachse senior Mattie Boyd and UAB signee and Legacy senior Jaycee Cook threw out the final pitches.
In 2008, four of the baseball fields were converted into the Dr. Pepper Ice Rink. The remaining baseball fields ceased operation last summer and were demolished this year.
The final day of operations were Nov. 30.
The ball fields will soon become a development project with an entertainment complex like miniature golf and bowling where the baseball fields were. The softball fields will soon be turned into apartments and just north of the volleyball area will become a park and another sheet of ice augmenting the current Dr. Pepper center at the far north end of the complex.
Thank you Craig’s Ranch, you will be missed.