Tourney opportunity for city
As Brewton prepares to host the Babe Ruth softball tournament beginning Friday, organizers hope the event will help put the city “on the map” in terms of hosting more tournaments.
Beginning Thursday, the Brewton YMCA Sports Park will host the state tournaments for five different age groups.
At total of 23 teams, including Brewton and East Brewton/Flomaton teams, will venture to Brewton for the 8U, 10U, 12U, 14U, and 16U All Star tournaments.
Teams from Covington County, Andalusia, Atmore, Alex City, Evergreen, Tri-County, Northwest Escambia and Elba will also attend.
Assistant Tournament Director Will Ruzic said Brewton’s win in the state championship last year automatically put Brewton in the rotation to host a state tournament.
“It just so happened that our geographical area was again selected to host the tournament, at which time we were presented this opportunity,” Ruzic said. “It took very little discussion to realize that this could be a tremendous opportunity for Brewton softball as well as the Brewton community.”
Ruzic said one of the primary goals is not only to promote Brewton’ softball program and facilities, but to promote the entire Brewton area.
“We know as a small town we will always face our share of challenges so it is extremely important that we capitalize on every opportunity available,” he said. “Youth sports can be a huge economic engine and together with our boys baseball program we can put Brewton on the map in a big way on the tournament circuit.”
Brewton’s tournament will see 23 teams coming in from across the state of Alabama, all of which will be bringing family and friends to the city.
While those players and spectators will spend much of their time at the ballpark, they will also be in the community buying meals, groceries, gas and hotel rooms.
“This is what really excites us — an opportunity to make an impact on our entire area,” Ruzic said. “We will start our festivities on July 4th with a BBQ in the downtown park. All participating teams are invited to this and will be a chance for the girls to meet, get to know each other and have a little fun together. We will fellowship together with food and activities and end the evening with the East Brewton fireworks display. The first games will begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday, and we will run every two hours throughout the next three days and end with championship games being played on Sunday. We hope to have everything wrapped by late Sunday afternoon to allow those traveling to get home at a reasonable hour. Of course, all of this is weather permitting.”
While there will be some residents in Brewton and East Brewton that will not have anyone playing in the tournament, Ruzic said he encourages all local fans to come support your local teams and players.
“There will be a $7 adult gate fee and $4 for kids which are set by the state league guidelines,” Ruzic said. “We will offer $20 adult and $10 kid tournament passes which will be good for the entire four days.”
While attendance from locals is asked for the games, Ruzic said he would like to ask local fans to please be aware when parking.
“We will be experiencing heavy traffic at all times and parking may be an issue,” Ruzic said. “We would ask that if you come as a group or a family that you please try to travel in as few vehicles as possible. We will have overflow parking at the high school baseball field, across the street from the baseball field and at the YMCA. We will be running a shuttle bus every 15 minutes.”
Ruzic also said volunteers are always welcomed and needed.
“We are taking an ‘all hands on deck’ approach with this many teams in our facility,” he said. “Heat will definitely be a factor so anyone willing to share large coolers, tents, ice or anything else that may bring some relief is certainly welcomed. Anything offered will certainly be appreciated, cared for and returned.”
While hosting a tournament this size can be time consuming, Ruzic said it is “amazing” that the city is hosting a state tournament in just its third year of organized softball. The city also now has 10 softball teams.
“That says a lot for the tremendous support we receive from the city, the parks and recreation board, the boys baseball program and our numerous fans,” Ruzic said. “It will be a huge undertaking and a lot of hard work by many to pull this off, but as I mentioned, the rewards can be great. And at the end of the day the biggest reward we all hope to see is a lot of smiling faces on the kids and a tremendous sense of accomplishment that they can carry with them forever, because when it is all said and done it is really all about the kids.”
Steven Dickey, executive director of the Brewton Area YMCA, said the tournament is a big undertaking.
“We want to run a top-notch tournament and let all of our visitors get a first hand glimpse of the hospitality of Brewton, as well as let them see some of the amenities we have here, that we are all so proud of,” Dickey said. “We are extremely blessed to have such a wonderful Sports Park that our community takes such great pride in, and now we get a chance to show it off to other communities across Alabama. Without the help of the City of Brewton, our wonderful and caring volunteers, and of course the staff of the YMCA, an endeavor such as this would be virtually impossible to pull off. This type of collaboration is just one of the many things that sets our community apart. We look forward to having a successful tournament and I personally invite the community to come out and support all of the local teams that will be playing.”