Now that the National Softball Association held opening ceremonies for its A Division Eastern World Series on Monday afternoon at Camp Jordan Park, the nearly 160 girls' fastpitch teams that have gathered in the Chattanooga area are ready to play ball.
Pool-play games in the five age groups ranging from 10- to 18-under are set to begin today at 8 a.m. The two upper age groups will play at The Summit of Softball Complex, and the two youngest age groups will be at Camp Jordan. Warner Park will host the 14-under games.
Monday's ceremony began with a parade of teams across the stage at Camp Jordan's pavilion and ended with a skills competition on some of the adjacent fields. Pete Hughes, coach of the Tennessee Fury '02 team competing in the 10-under age group, said his players seemed to have a good time Monday.
"I think they did some bungee jumping and went out and traded pins," Hughes said. "They socialized. Camp Jordan did a great job with the event, and the NSA did a great job setting it up for them."
Bob Doak, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the fact that Chattanooga mayor Andy Berke, Hamilton County mayor Jim Coppinger and East Ridge councilman Denny Manning were among the dignitaries at the event shows that each entity understands the importance of having events like the NSA World Series and the need to work together.
"You're looking at an event with 156, 157 teams from around the country," said Tim Morgan, who is near the end of his first year as president of the Greater Chattanooga Sports and Events Committee. "The economy in this entire region benefits, specifically because of softball. This 'A' World Series is the reason why softball should be a priority for us. Events like this are one of the main reasons why we have the wonderful facilities we have."
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.