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West Point set to host Dizzy Dean softball tourney

June 20, 2011

Preparations are underway here in West Point as the town gets ready to host a 2011 Dizzy Dean state softball tournament in July.

The eight-team field, representing Fulton, Bruce, Mathison, Louisville, Aberdeen, Eupora and Saltillo, starts July at the Jesse W. Harmon Sports Complex. The winner will advance to the 2011 World Series held at Green Book Park in Southaven.

Preparations are underway for all the necessities needed to host a tournament of this size including field preparation, event staffing for concessions and tickets and umpires.

Parks and Recreation Director James Crowley says it's all in a days work in getting ready to bring visitors to the community.

"We're taking preparation on those types of things, like getting t-shrits ready and ordering trophies," he said.

One of the most important aspects of hosting a tournament is the community involvement. Local businesses play a huge role in it's success because they can provide entertainment, food and lodging when teams aren't playing.

"We've talked to the downtown employees and are making sure they will be open that Saturday," Crowley said. "All these people from the surrounding areas are coming in and we want to be sure they will have an opportunity to shop in our stores, stay in our hotels and eat at our restaurants which in turn will help us from a revenue standpoint."

Not only will the parks and recreation department be making a revenue from the tournament concessions and tickets, they also get a small portion from local businesses, just one percent in tax, to help fund future programs.

"When people come in and actually spend money in West Point, that's helping in the long run," Crowley said.

West Point's bid of $600-$800 was enough to host the tournament, but Crowley said they are looking to at least triple their revenue, about $2,400 once all the math has been completed. The majority of that will come from gates, with very little from concessions.

"We could be way low or way high," Crowley said. "But we will be able to have a good sense from this tournament of the amount of money we can make for future tournaments. We're going to be bidding on the girls tournaments each year."

This tournament will also give more exposure to the complex and greatly increase the city's chances of hosting another tournament in the near future.

West Point has been in this position before. Although this is the first ever girls tournament, the city hosted a 9-10 year old boys championship two years ago which Crowley says "was a good a success," but it's hard to bid on a boys tournament because that's what everybody wants to host. He said they plan on going against the norm.

"We're looking into the girls tournaments," Crowley said. "We have a great girls facility, so we're concentrating on the ones that people don't fight over so much. So I'm hoping we can get a few more next year."

Workers will be tending to the fields over the next few weeks, turning over the dirt and getting a sprinkler system in place to keep the ground from getting too hard with the absence of rain in the region. It's the simple process of beautification of the sports complex, something the city itself is known for.

Crowley says they aren't limiting their facilities to just Dizzy Dean baseball and softball. The complex will host adult softball tournaments and other youth tournaments that aren't always guaranteed but in most cases go on without a hitch.

"I think we're going to dwell more on the tournaments we can bid on," Crowley said. "That way we can have more stability about knowing when they are going to come."

The 2011 12U girls state tournament kicks-off July 7 with games starting at 6 and 7:30 p.m.

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