Fastpitch End of Season Tournament Overview
Big West Qualifier Tournament: Minnetonka fastpitch teams are part of the Big West League. As part of our league registration fee, our teams are automatically included in the Big West Qualifier tournament.
The Big West League determines seeding for this tournament via email with all league coaches in mid June. The results of this tournament are used for seeding for the MN Softball State Tournament. Participation in the Qualifier Tournament is expected as part of participation in a travel fastpitch team.
MN Softball State Tournament: The Big West League is part of the Minnesota Softball Association. MN Softball holds the State Tournaments the weekends following the respective age-group Qualifier Tournaments, skipping weekends around July 4.
Registration fees for this tournament is also included in our Big West League fee. Playing in the MN Softball State Tournament IS NOT GUARANTEED, but recent experience is that 90% or so of Big West League teams DO make it. This tournament includes teams from Big West League, the Tri-County League (eastern metro) and a few other teams throughout the state of Minnesota. Participation in the State Tournament, if the team qualifies, is expected as part of participation in a travel fastpitch team.
NAFA National Tournament: The North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) holds a national tournament in the metro area in July. This tournament is typically Thursday through Sunday. Teams earn berths for this tournament by high finishes at in-season tournaments. These are NOT PAID berths, they are just an invitation to play.
As of the 2016 season, these tournaments are capacity-controlled and no non-berth team is guaranteed a spot.
Neither the registration fee (approx $400 to $500 per team), nor Gate Fee (typically $200 per team) for this tournament are included in the Minnetonka Fastpitch Registration Fee. Therefore they are paid for by player families. There are also gift exchange and pin-trading costs. Participation in a National Tournament is completely optional and voluntary.
Other National Tournaments: There are other national tournaments in Minnesota and out of state hosted by ASA, USSSA and NAFA.
Nationals Team Formation within Minnetonka Fastpitch and MGSA
The Minnetonka Fastpitch Committee, as delegated by MGSA, is responsible for all decision-making regarding all Nationals berths earned and teams formed as a result of play in MGSA. These decisions include number of berths to be used, number of teams to be formed, which tournaments to attend, coaches of those teams, and team formation, among others. These decisions are made in concert with coaches and will include input from parents to some degree. But, all decisions will be made by the Fastpitch Committee.
Minnetonka Fastpitch generally does NOT seek to build all-star Nationals teams with an intention of selecting the best of the best players to strive to win the tournament outright.
Minnetonka Fastpitch generally does NOT seek to provide Nationals tournament opportunities for each and every player. Berths in Nationals tournaments are earned through high finishes in competitive tournaments.
A single team is not able to earn more than one berth for a specific National tournament. In other words, there are not berths that can be transferred to other teams. A team COULD earn a berth to more than one National tournament though. For example: NAFA and USSSA.
That said, there are general guidelines that the Fastpitch Committee has used in the past for this process:
- A Spring/summer team earning a Nationals berth in that season that wishes to play as an intact team at Nationals will generally be accommodated.
- Coaches of Nationals teams are able to augment their Nationals team with players not otherwise on a Nationals team. Generally, we would look internally within Minnetonka Fastpitch or MGSA for additional players. Occasionally, players from outside MGSA will be added, usually players with specific skills, such as pitching or catching.
- ALL team augmentation will be approved by the Fastpitch Committee. Any offers extended by coaches to players/parents shall be communicated as "tentative" and "subject to approval by the Fastpitch Committee".
Families should prepare to pay their share of a $400/$450 registration fee, plus $100 team gate fee, plus gift bags plus pins for pin trading. Players/families will need to commit to the team practices during the two week period leading up to the tournament and the tournament itself. If tournament is out of town, travel expenses will also be incurred. Playing time in these tournaments is typically not even, especially in bracket play, where winning is the objective in order to continue playing.
(approved by Fastpitch Committee June 2010, updated 2013, minor date updates 5/2016)