Hot weather and softball seem to go together. That's the case at the ASA Girls' 12-and-under Fast Pitch National Championship in Moline.
When temperatures top 90 degrees at Green Valley Sports Complex, the Washington Blaze is on fire. The ASA softball team from Seattle plays it smart in the dugout. The girls stay healthy, on and off the field.
There are 83 teams from 20 states. That includes plenty of warm weather states like California, Texas and Florida. But this is different.
"It's very sticky and sweaty," said Kira Lascola, a player with the California Thunder.
"It's really hot, and it's really humid," added teammate Liza Gadea. "Sometimes you feel like you can't breathe on the field."
That's why the Roseville Heat brought this loaded cooler from California.
"It's our most important tool," said Scott Miller.
They've stocked it with water and wraps.
"They stay cool," Miller said. "And they keep the water. The girls put them over their heads when they come into the dugout."
These teams play dozens of games in all kinds of conditions. It's all about good common sense.
"You definitely have to prepare for it, and get the girls ready to play," said Jeff Lascola, California Thunder. "Drinking water in the morning, and drinking water at night."
The drought also creates extra work at the tournament. That means lots of extra water when the games are done for the day.
"We're having to water between games more frequently," said Laura Duran, Moline Parks and Recreation director. "Keep it in a nice playing surface for the girls, and so the umpires can see the ball also."
While players seem to be holding up just fine, the umpires have a tougher time with it.
"They have a lot of gear on," Duran said. "We've had quite a few of them have some heat episodes."
Just like playing the game, preparation is an important part of the process.
"Stay hydrated during, after and before the games," player Gadea advised.
That's good advice for all the players, umpires and fans enjoying the tournament this week.