UPDATE: Per Team Xtreme Head Coaches, the Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser has been canceled for undisclosed reasons.
ELLIS COUNTY — The road to Houston is paved with sweat, effort and requirements and the Ellis County-manned 16U Team Xtreme softball girls are ready meet each with the same vigor that carried them through their summer softball season.
Head Coach Joey Hernandez, Assistant Coach Reuben Medina and Team Xtreme will hold a pancake breakfast fundraiser from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. July 29 at the Applebee's in Waxahachie, located at 601 U.S. Hwy 77, to try to chip into the total cost.
"We play mostly local and DFW tournaments, so we're trying to get a trip together for girls who don't really get to do that because parents work all the time," Hernandez said. "We charge lower fees than other teams because we understand what parents have to do to get their kids into summer programs. That's why we wanted to come up with a fundraiser — to make it easier on those parents that are entrusting us with helping their kids improve."
There will also be an "admit one" chance to win a portable charcoal grill when attendees purchase a ticket and put their name and phone number on the back of the stub. The winner will be announced on the Team Xtreme Facebook page.
Though the coaches have squirreled away some funds to drop the price, he said the $1,250 amount is one place where the kindness of Ellis County residents could play a big role.
If they can raise the required amount, it will be the first time the team would have competed in Houston's 25th Annual Ronald McDonald Tournament for 14U, 15U, 16U and 18U players on Oct. 20, 21 and 22. The tournament features six showcase games with a pool-play winner, as well as camps, skills clinics, unsigned senior workouts.
Though the tournament's pay deadline is Sept. 15, Hernandez said that he and his wife Mandy Hernandez, the team's administrator, are aiming to have the monies collected by Sept. 1.
"It's a pretty big national tournament that teams throughout the country come out to play," Hernandez said. "It's a chance for the girls to play against some of the best [high school-level] softball talent in the nation. That type of exposure is invaluable."
The price also has a hidden gem. The event donates $100 per team, along with 10 percent of vendor revenue and T-shirt sales to the Houston Ronald McDonald House. The largest donation ever was $56,000 in 2014.
In 2015, the 16U Lady Stros Klehm beat 16U Hitt Weinkauf 5-3 for the tournament championship. Team Xtreme is looking to bring the championship to North Texas.
The 16U team, which has mostly Waxahachie players with some from Blooming Grove, Ennis, Mansfield and Midlothian, is 10-8 in their summer softball season. A showcase on July 8-9 and the Texas National Championship a week later is on the horizon for Team Xtreme.
"A lot of these players either play for the high school team or will play for the high school teams [in the community]," Hernandez said. "That type of kindness from the community shows they are keeping up with the girls that are going to amaze us on the field for the next couple of seasons."
The team will play in 16U Open Division during the four-day United States Specialty Sports' Texas National Softball Championships on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Hernandez and his team, slated in Poll P, will play the Impact Gold Williams at 11:20 p.m. on Thursday at Archgate Park Field No. 7, the EC Sliders at 1 p.m. Thursday at Archgate Park Field No. 7 and the Texas Outlaws-Prentice at 9:40 a.m. Friday at Cheyenne Park Field No. 3.