Opening ceremonies for the National Softball Association's A Division Eastern World Series, held in the Chattanooga area this year, will take place today at Camp Jordan Park in East Ridge.
NSA founder and CEO Hugh Cantrell said approximately 160 teams representing about 25 states will be competing for World Series titles in age groups ranging from 10- to 18-under. Teams are scheduled to check in today between 10 a.m. and noon at Camp Jordan with a coaches' meeting to follow.
Ceremonies at Camp Jordan are set to begin at 3:30 startng with a parade of teams. Other activities will include pin swapping, the announcement of the Miss NSA winners in each of the five age groups, and there will be inflatable play structures on site.
"We're lookng forward to the opening ceremonies," Cantrell said. "That's one of my biggest thrills. The girls have so much fun."
After the ceremonies, action will move to one of the fields at Camp Jordan for a skills competition, including both individual and team challenges.
"There always seems to be a lot of interest in the skills games," Cantrell said. "A lot of kids really look forward to the skills games. We've been doing this many, many years. Why wouldn't they get tired of that? But no, they want to run the bases and throw the ball. They love those kinds of things. So, we haven't tried to do things differently, we've just tried to perfect them."
Games will begin Tuesday at 8 a.m. The 16- and 18-under age groups are scheduled to play at The Summit of Softball Complex while the 14-under classification is scheduled at Warner Park. The 10- and 12-under age groups are scheduled to play at Camp Jordan until they are down to the last four games, which will be moved to Warner.
Teams will play two pool games before double-elimination begins. Championships are slated for Saturday.
"We had some walk-throughs last week and touched up all the things we needed to," said Ted Broyles, supervisor of athletic facilities for Chattanooga's Parks and Recreation Department, of The Summit and Warner Park. "The infields look great at both places. I think we're looking at a 20- or 30-percent chance of rain every day, but that's not to say it can't dump two or three inches of rain in 30 minutes.
"We're looking forward to it. It's always a challenge, but my guys thrive on that. Our grounds crews are the best, which is one of the reasons the NSA likes coming here."
Contact Kelley Smiddie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.
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 email@example.com.