Meridian hosts national softball tournament
By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
Aug, 1, 2001
Two years of planning by Meridian leaders will culminate Thursday when the city hosts an Amateur Softball Association Junior Olympic girls' national tournament.
Tournament director Charlie Turner said Tuesday that the event is important for its participants and the community.
The event is the 13th national ASA tournament ever hosted in Meridian the first since 1999 and the fifth girls' event. Meridian officials learned two years ago in Dallas that the city would host the event.
Turner acknowledged that winning the right to host a Junior Olympic girls' tourney was a major accomplishment.
Turner said that 26 teams from 12 different states will play in the event; some began arriving in Meridian on Monday. Teams that traveled the farthest include a pair from Rhode Island and one each from Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Oklahoma.
The lineup also includes eight teams from Mississippi, including ASA state champion Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Diamond Dusters. The Diamond Dusters won a world tournament last weekend in Brandon.
Three teams have Meridian-area ties: North Meridian Optimist, The Express and the Structural Steel Heartbreakers.
Opening ceremonies are slated for 9 a.m. Thursday at the Northeast Park Complex. Teams will play two "pool play" contests each on Thursday, with double-elimination action beginning Friday.
The championship game will be either Saturday or Sunday, with the day and time determined after officials put the finishing touches on the tournament bracket at a 6 p.m. coaches meeting today.