• 81°

First Demopolis tourney a success

The Demopolis Sports-Plex hosted its first National Softball Association sanctioned tournament this past weekend.

“Everything went extremely well,” said tournament director Rod Laduron. “We were very pleased with the event’s turnout.”

The “Demopolis Open House” lasted all day Saturday and hosted 10 teams from across the state of Alabama. Two teams from the girls 14 and under and eight teams from 16 and under came together to play.

The girls participated in a pool play round that allowed for all the teams to play at least three games in the tournament.

The two 14U teams then went on to play one another to decide the winner of that age group while the 16U teams went to a more traditional playoff system to get to their championship game.

The local teams, known as the L.A. Thunder, had a good showing as the 14U team won its division over the Northside Heat and the 16U team finished second to the Birmingham Vipers.

Each team played the minimum of five games to get to its respective championship game.

“Everyone came away really impressed with the facilities out here. The coaches and players of the other team really enjoyed playing on such nice fields,” said Laduron of the Sports-Plex. “The fans from the other teams all commented on how well the facility was taken care of.”

The tournament was a big step in allowing Demopolis to begin to host more events like this one.

According to Laduron this is a key point, as these tournaments give the city’s economy a boost with people staying in local hotels and eating at local restaurants. It was what Laduron had hoped to get out of this tournament and it was exactly what he got.

“The NSA’s state director, Rickey Light, was out here to watch the tournament and came away really impressed,” said Laduron. “And after the tournament, we started talking about getting more tournaments here.”

The 10 teams brought around 250-300 fans, which is to be expected. But Laduron hopes that the next tournament will have more teams and, in turn, bring more revenue to Demopolis.

“The next tournament we (L.A. Thunder) are going to is in Tuscaloosa and they normally have 20-25 teams,” said Laduron. “That is our goal as we try to grow our tournament.”

Laduron expects the Sports-Plex to be able to hold many more NSA tournaments in the near future and hopes that these can build a support for the Thunder which has been around for quite a few years and put some of its players into college softball.