• 70°

Softball event gives area economy a boost

Chances are, if you went out to eat somewhere this weekend, you noticed local restaurants and fast-food outlets were busier than usual.

The surge in activity at area eateries also was matched by a multitude of booked rooms at area hotels, thanks to the influx of more than 1,000 softball players, coaches, families and fans in town for the Ole Brook Bash, a fastpitch softball tournament sprawling over three sets of fields around the county.

More than 600 girls from three states have been playing since Friday afternoon in the event, which continues through the championship finals scheduled this evening.

Fifty-six teams, each averaging 12 players, registered for the tourney. Add in two or three coaches per team, plus two or more family members and friends per player, and you have a significant number of visitors in Brookhaven for the weekend.

Besides providing some great softball entertainment for local sports fans, the tournament also has pumped a considerable number of dollars into the local economy, through lodging, dining, gasoline and other retail expenditures.

Play has been ongoing at the Brookhaven Recreation Department’s Hansel King Sportsplex, at the Ole Brook Lady Panther Softball Complex and at West Lincoln Attendance Center.

Teams have competed in brackets for ages eight and under up through high school. The lineup even includes several local teams.

Tournament director Jaymie Palmer, who also teaches at BHS, is to be commended for working to bring this event to Brookhaven and Lincoln County. Also deserving recognition are the scores of others who participated in staging this major summer tournament.

The fact that our area has such fine softball facilities also is no doubt a major factor in securing a tournament of this caliber. This region is blessed to have these fine sports and recreational complexes.

So when you’re out and about this afternoon, and you see unfamiliar faces, offer a friendly hello and a welcome to the Homeseekers Paradise.

And if you’d like to catch the play, you still have time to head out to Hansel King Sportsplex on Beltline Drive. The finals start at 6 p.m.