Softball notes: Local teams prepare for annual Mission Fastpitch Tournament

The 24th annual Mission Fastpitch Tournament will host 32 teams from across the Valley, Corpus Christi and Laredo this weekend. Local teams, Rio Hondo, Harlingen South, San Benito and Harlingen High will all take the field this afternoon.

Rio Hondo opens play against Weslaco East with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m. The winner will meet either McAllen or Sharyland Pioneer at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.

“The Lady Cats enjoy playing in the Mission Tournament,” said Rio Hondo coach Brett Esparza. “The ladies are working hard and are going to accept the competition.”

District 32-6A will get a good look at each other as Brownsville Hanna, Brownsville Rivera, Weslaco and Weslaco East join Harlingen and South in the event. Los Fresnos is the only league team not entered as the Lady Falcons will be at the Smithson Valley Tournament.

The Lady Hawks will kick things off against PSJA Southwest. First pitch is slated for 2:30. The winner there will meet either Rivera or McAllen Memorial at 9 on Friday morning.

Harlingen, meanwhile, will square off against Mercedes at 5:30 and will see either Laredo Alexander or PSJA North at 1:30 Friday.

San Benito, which has won the tournament the last two years, returns a majority of its starters in 2018. The Lady Hounds kick things off against Laredo Nixon at 7 p.m. and will face the winner between PSJA and Laredo United South at noon Friday.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to play some solid competition and watch some of our district opponents,” said San Benito coach Denise Lira. “Our plan is to take it one game at a time.”