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'Softball Mamas' Prepare to Do Battle in Parents' Softball Tournament

May 30, 2024 06:44AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

The MB Softball Mamas: Back row, l-r: Molly Fulbright (Hermosa View), Amy Kuolt (Martyrs), Taylor Abram (free agent), Paula Farrace (MBMS), Michelle Orozco (Meadows) Front row, l-r: Molly Jolls (Hermosa Valley), Ella Kenney (Meadows), Joanne Succari (Mira Costa), Lisa Stott Lemieux (Pacific). Not pictured: Kim Motika (Mira Costa), Erin Lutz (Meadows), Becki Winkler (Mira Costa), Keeley Abram (free agent), Christina Bambico (Martyrs), and Gen Barlow (Mira Costa).

The Parents' Softball Classic Tournament in Manhattan Beach is a hard-fought competition each year, where good-natured rivalries between parents and schools become serious battles for the coveted trophy. And although it's called the "parents'" tournament, for each of its 17 previous years the teams have been almost entirely dads. 

That's all about to change on Sunday, however, when a new team will take the field: an all-female group of players calling themselves the "Softball Mamas."

This team is made up of experienced players - including former college players - and current and former softball coaches.

"About half of the team have been playing co-ed softball together recreationally in Manhattan Beach for many years," team manager Joanne Succari told MB News. "We then reached out to ladies who had played in the tournament previously, and the rest was through word of mouth. We had more interest than we expected."

Team members, and the schools they represent, include Succari (Mira Costa), Taylor Abram (free agent), Kim Motika (Mira Costa), Ella Kenney (Meadows), Paula Farrace (MBMS), Erin Lutz (Meadows), Becki Winckler (Mira Costa), Michelle Orozco (Meadows), Molly Fulbright (Hermosa View), Molly Jolls (Hermosa Valley), Keeley Abram (free agent), Amy Kuolt (Martyrs), Christina Bambico (Martyrs), Gen Barlow (Mira Costa), and Lisa Stott Lemieux (Pacific).

Of those team members, Kenney played softball for Yale, Abram played for UC Riverside, and Barlow played for Bowdoin College. (Barlow is currently the coach of the Mira Costa varsity softball team.) Motika has perhaps the longest ties to the local softball community, having played on the Mira Costa softball team from 1988-1992. Six of the members have played in past Parents' Softball Classic tournaments, representing Meadows, Grand View, MBMS, and Martyrs.

"We usually would have to split up for the tournament, but we thought it would be fun if we could play together," said Succari.

And how do their odds for success look in the tournament? "We have a good mix of skills across the team, so we hope to be competitive. Most of all we are looking forward to a fun day of softball with an amazing group of ladies," she said.

Tournament to Feature 11 Teams, Mayor's First Pitch

The Manhattan Beach Parents' Softball Classic will take place on Sunday, June 2 at the Marine Avenue Fields, starting at 9:00 a.m. Admission is free; refreshments will be available for purchase.

The tournament raises funds for the MBX Foundation, a nonprofit that supports sports, drama, and academic booster clubs and co-curricular programs at Manhattan Beach schools. The tournament involves 140 total players on 11 different teams, with at least one team representing each Manhattan Beach school. There is also a team of "Founders" (parents whose students have graduated), and this year's "Softball Mamas."

Manhattan Beach Mayor Joe Franklin will help kick off the tournament by throwing out the first pitch. Franklin coached his daughter's youth softball teams in Manhattan Beach for many years and served as assistant coach at Mira Costa for the frosh-soph team while his daughter played there.

And yes, the tournament is being held on the same day as the Grand View Gator Run, which raises money for the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation. The Grand View Elementary team has been given a later start time for their first game for those who want to participate in the race.

Last year's tournament featured a victory by the Pennekamp Elementary team and raised a record $26,000 for the MBX Foundation.

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