Alachua to host additional tournaments next year
City of Alachua Recreation Director Hal Brady displays one of the 2012 Babe Ruth World Series pink commemorative helmets. Area merchants purchased a helmet for each girl to collect signatures from other teams as well as Babe Ruth officials and World Series volunteers.
ALACHUA – The Babe Ruth Softball World Series has once again brought business and pleasure to the city of Alachua.
The tournament, which brought 20 aged 12 and under softball teams to compete at the Hal Brady Recreation Complex, concludes this week and has provided an influx in purchases at local hotels, restaurants and other businesses.
Hal Brady, recreation director for the City of Alachua, estimates that around 2,100 hotel room nights were booked in local hotels by families in town for the event. Brady also said hotel rooms were not the only things purchased by visitors.
“A lot of families from out of town had to get rental cars,” Brady said. “And there were many meals purchased this week.”
Babe Ruth League President Rob Connor said he is already working to arrange dates for next year’s tournament in Alachua and said the city is likely in line for a few additional tournaments next year.
Connor and the Babe Ruth League are holding the inaugural World Series for their new “Xtreme Fastpitch” softball leagues next year, and Connor said he aims to have Alachua host the championship tournaments for both the under 16 and under 14 Xtreme Fastpich leagues.
“We’re looking to add two more weekends of tournaments in Alachua,” Connor said. “We would stagger the tournaments around the end of July and beginning of August.”
Connor said the new tournaments would also be held at the Hal Brady Recreation Complex, and he estimates the championships would bring a 200 percent increase in revenue from what the Babe Ruth World Series currently brings.
The Babe Ruth Softball World Series began Friday with an opening ceremony attended by over 2,000 people, highlighted by a fireworks display and an impromptu dance competition among the many young softball players.
Brady said the fireworks were paid for primarily with $2,500 donations from both Cox Communications and the Alachua Detonators and noted that the tournament was aided largely by contributions from local merchants.
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