By: Lani Hansen, Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma- The All Clans 10 and under softball team placed runner-up in the Southwest Region All Sanctions National Championships in Shawnee, Ok.
The All Clans team was founded by Muscogee (Creek) citizens Erick Starr, Eric Taylor and Bubba Sanders in the spring of 2017. The team is based out of Okmulgee with the girls representing from six different schools.
“We decided to put a group of native girls together and enter a tournament,” Coach Bubba Sanders said. “They were our daughters and mostly all cousins from different clans and that’s where the name ‘All Clans’ came from.”
The 10 and under team has been together since August of 2019. They have played in 11 tournaments and finished top three in eight of those. Sanders stated, beginning in May the girls were also playing double and triple headers on Thursday nights in a competitive league in Sapulpa.
“We definitely made up lost time since the COVID pandemic shut down sports for a couple of months,” Sanders said. “The girls have won lots of ‘bling’ this summer. If you’re not familiar with softball, the new thing is to give out tournament rings instead of trophies. The kids enjoy getting them.”
The All Clans team is a competitive team and does a lot of traveling that can get rather costly, according to Sanders. Some of the players on the team have received funds through the Mvskoke Youth Opportunity Grant. The grant is to assist enrolled citizens ages 0-24, with participation in educational and non-educational extra-curricular activities.
“It is truly a blessing to have this grant for our Mvskoke Youth,” Sanders said. “It has helped some of our players past and present with traveling expenses, uniform costs, player equipment costs and tournament fees.”
MCN has also been a helping hand to this team, Sanders wanted to thank the MCN Tourism and Recreation Department for allowing them to practice at the Claude Cox Complex.
Sanders has enjoyed watching his team battle it out on the dirt.
“My goal for these girls is to make sure they have fun, work hard and support one another,” Sanders said. “With each game and inning, there is always something to be proud of with this bunch. I can honestly say, they battle from the time the coin is tossed until the umpire yells ballgame.”
Sanders believes the teams greatest achievement is being runner-up at Nationals in July and USSSA 10u C State Champs in June. Overall, their greatest and most important achievement is teamwork.
“These girls worked so hard and played some great softball in 100 plus temperatures,” Sanders said about the team. “We were a “C” team playing in an open tournament. I don’t think anybody expected us to be in the championship game in the gold bracket. It was a great tournament with great all-around competition.”
Sanders wanted to thank his assistant Coach Danny and all the parents for their time and dedication to the team.