- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
County set to host ASA Eastern National tournament
By AJ MASONStaff writer
Coaches and softball players along the Eastern seaboard will be playing on plenty of diamonds as Laurel Springs Regional Park in La Plata will host the 12-and-Under Class A girls fast pitch Eastern National Championship.
The tournament will feature 17 teams from Maryland, Ohio, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. None of the Maryland teams comes from Southern Maryland.
The three-day competition will kick off with pool play at 8 a.m. today and continue with double-elimination play on Thursday and Friday, with the championship game scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday.
Opening ceremonies were held on Tuesday evening at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf before the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs hosted the Long Island Ducks.
“This will be an exciting moment for these girls because with being 12 years old they don’t get to travel much,” said Catherine Carroll, the marketing coordinator for the Charles County government Office of Tourism. “It’s ... a neat experience.”
Carroll mentioned that having the event at Laurel Springs is a great environment for the county to play softball.
“This is a really good venue and the goal of the ASA Eastern National is enhancing the image for the county to create multiple events which will bring revenue into the county,” Carroll said. “It generates for the tourism tax codes. Laurel Springs is a premier facility and the Charles County Parks and Grounds do a great job of preparing the fields for the tournament.”
The Office of Tourism is a host partner for the Eastern National, along with Regency Furniture, and it also works with the Charles County Chamber of Commerce.
“There is a huge economic impact in the community for this tournament,” Carroll added. “There will be 10 to 11 hotels that will be provided for the teams to stay in from the travel leader company that is a housing agency.”
Jack Hutcherson, who is the Maryland/Washington, D.C., ASA commissioner, said with 17 teams, the tournament has the lowest turnout compared to past years.
That, he added, was due to other teams participating in other national tournaments, and also there weren’t enough 10-U teams to be added to the event.
“Our economy has been affected this year,” Hutcherson said. “Next year, we want to bring in about 60 16-U teams, the older kids tend to travel more than the younger kids. This tournament will impact the area, we have 250 participants that are out of county, that’s not counting the ones local. It will be a huge showing, that’s for sure. We want to bring in business for the county. There will be parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers and more. It will be very exciting.”
The ASA organization not only has been a local commodity, but it’s been very successful over the years.
“This tournament gives major exposure not only for the county, but for the players,” Hutcherson said. “This is softball at its best and there is a lot of high-quality competition.”
The ASA is the national governing body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competitions in every state through a network of 76 local associations.
The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to more than 210,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 3 million.
For more information on the ASA, go to www.asasoftball.com.