ST. GEORGE – The 14th annual Desert Spring Championships girls’ fast pitch softball tournament is one of many local sporting events helping put St. George on the map.
The tournament is held over two weekends, with the 10-and-under, 14-and-under and 18-and-under teams competing this Friday and Saturday and the 12-and-under and 16-and-under teams competing Feb. 22 and 23. It is hosted exclusively by the City of the St. George at the scenic Canyons Softball Complex, which has been awarded “Complex of the Year” by the National Softball Association the last eight years.
Aside from bragging rights, the winning team in each division will receive a trophy, shirts and bat bags, while the runner-up will receive shirts and a plaque. Any player who hits a triple or home run is awarded a special “Triple Threat” or “Out of the Park” shirt.
Many competing in the Desert Spring Championships are experienced school or league teams with numerous victories under their belt.
“We have some good softball being played here today,” said Clay Brown, softball coordinator for the City of St. George. “These young women are very serious and play their best every game.”
“The atmosphere is great,” Emily Wilmont of the Bad to the Bones team said. “We’ve faced tough competition so far.”
The Desert Spring Championships is rapidly gaining recognition within the softball community, due largely to the City’s recent partnership with the Amateur Softball Association of America. A total of 32 teams from Utah, Nevada, Idaho and other states are competing this weekend alone, bringing with them dozens of coaches and hundreds of players and fans. The Crystal Inn Hotel and Suites St. George, Wingate by Wyndham St. George and Ramada St. George have all chipped in to provide free accommodations for ASA umpires.
Softball provides a significant boost to the local economy and is the City’s second-largest source of recreation-generated income. The combination of the area’s many sporting venues and the popularity of softball in the southwestern United States ensure that this will continue, and possibly increase.
“The great thing about St. George is that it gives teams a place to play in the winter,” said Dave Fox, junior Olympic commissioner for the Utah ASA. “The Canyons is a beautiful complex and (this is) a quality tournament.”
The City’s softball schedule continues beyond the Desert Spring Championships with the men’s slow pitch March Madness Tournament on March 1 and 2, girls’ fast pitch Red Rock Classic on April 19 and 20 and many more events throughout the summer.
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