Softball: Annual Boulder IDT already misses Sprenkle41-year local coaching fixture hanging up whistle
By Brad Cochi, 06/30/2015
BOULDER — The annual Boulder Independence Day Tournament is a veritable who's who of the national club softball scene.
This year, possibly the Boulder area's most well-known coach won't be in a dugout or down the third base line for the first time in a long time. After 41 years coaching softball, Boulder Stars head man Peter Sprenkle is hanging it up at 78 years young.
"Clearly I'll miss coaching because coaching is teaching and I like to teach," Sprenkle said. "I'll miss the interaction with the girls and their parents. I like taking care of the field and the clinics and the camps, and I may still continue to do that kind of stuff. My wife and I just decided it was time to take a break."
Sprenkle's granddaughter Julia McCue graduated from Fairview High School in May and is playing with his Boulder Stars for her grandfather's final season. For his final summer, Sprenkle is coaching the Boulder Stars in a more laid-back recreational league without the pressures of college recruiting, frequent travel and a playing 100 games or more. Those of his players who wanted to continue playing club at a more competitive level were free to join other clubs.
While his club was still competing at the highest level, Sprenkle has compiled a record of 1,550-761 to date while coaching at both the club and high school level. The Boulder Stars have won multiple state titles and two years ago finished second out of 65 teams at the Triple Crown World Series in Park City, Utah.
"I've had to opportunity to coach with my daughter and I now go to games and some of the opposing coaches are girls that used to play for me," Sprenkle said. "We've won a lot of games and we've won a lot of tournaments. We've done really well. But what I'll miss most is the time spent with the kids."
Sprenkle founded the Boulder Valley Girls Softball Association in 1978 and has since authored two books including "A Softball Coaches Tool Kit." He is also the recipient of several national softball coaching awards.
Boulder's biggest softball tournament won't be the same without Boulder's most influential softball mind.
"Pete and I go way back and he's a good man," Boulder IDT tournament director Dan Burns said. "No one has done more for youth softball in this area than Pete, there's no doubt about that. I'm happy that he was able to do it for as long as he has. He'll be missed, no doubt about it, but he's still going to be around and involved so that's good."
Even without Sprenkle's team competing, this year's Boulder IDT will be littered with local talent with six clubs from the Colorado Stars organization in the mix. Between Burns' Stars Gold 18U team and the five others — CO Stars Sakamoto 18U, CO Stars Rob 18U, CO Stars '99 16U, CO Stars Workman 16U — over two dozen high school players from Boulder, Broomfield, Longmont, Erie, Frederick and other surrounding areas will be playing in front of 350-400 college coaches and recruiters.
Expanding to 216 teams this year, the Boulder IDT will include an 80-team 18-under tournament in Boulder, a 32-team 18-under tournament in Louisville, a 56-team 16-under tournament in Longmont and a new 48-team 14-under tournament in Broomfield. The Broomfield-based Colorado Warriors '01 club will play in the 14-under division.
The Boulder IDT will begin with pool play from Wednesday to Friday. Elimination play will begin on Saturday and end with the semifinals and finals on Sunday at Stazio Fields in Boulder.
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