published Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Warner Park to host 16s softball showcase

A few hundred athletes, along with the ballfields at Warner Park, are in for a good workout this weekend when the Tennessee Fury fastpitch academy hosts the Scenic City 16s exposure tournament.

Sixty 16-under teams from seven states will take part in the exhibition, which will also have games played at Frost Stadium. Teams are guaranteed to play six games each. Although no champion will be declared, performances will remain a high priority. More than 50 college coaches are expected to attend.

Fury coaches Pat Moyer and Jeremy Higdon are co-directors and came up with the concept. The Greater Sports and Events Committee helped bring it about, and Warner Park’s recent restoration played a key role.

“Last year we went out to California and played twice, and went to Colorado and played there,” Moyer said. “We felt like every time we played somewhere that we had a facility we were proud of that was just as good or better. There’s nothing on the East coast like this, so why not take advantage of the park we have in our own backyard?”

Putting together the event began several months ago.

“They pitched the idea to us, and we thought it would be great,” Parks & Recreation Department assistant director Greta Hayes said. “That’s pretty much what these fields were built for.”

Moyer and Higdon particularly wanted to restrict the competition to this particular age group.

“There are quite a few places that have these kinds of events, but I think what makes this one unique is that it’s geared toward players that are all recruitable, for the most part,” Tennessee Tech coach Tory Acheson said. “What’s really an exciting proposition for me as a college coach is that some people in Chattanooga wanted to step up and hold something like this in a fastpitch-specific facility, and they’ve had people put in the time to try and make it a first-class event. And it’s an hour and a half down the road for me.”

Festivities begin with a skills combine, which starts this morning at 8 and continues until noon. College coaches will be provided all data on each participant.

Play begins today at 1 p.m. The last games tonight are scheduled to start at 9. Action begins at 8 each morning the next three days. Friday’s and Saturday’s final games are scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Sunday’s final games are set for 4:30.

Admission is $5 per day. A pass good for all four days can be bought for $15.

about Kelley Smiddie...

Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com.

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