Placer and Sacramento region anticipate $3 million economic jolt
Roseville, Calif.- Thousands of the best slow-pitch softball players – and some of the oldest – will compete in the Senior Softball-USA Western National Championships starting Tuesday (Aug. 1) through Sunday (Aug. 6) in Placer Valley and Sacramento County, attracting more than 5,000 athletes and fans, and generating $3 million for the region.
About 150 slow-pitch teams – from Alaska and Hawaii to Texas, including more than 20 teams from the Sacramento region – will participate in the six-day tournament, with the top teams advancing to the World Championships this fall. The Western National Championships features men’s teams with 40- to 85-year-old-and-up players, and women’s teams in 40-, 50- and 55-and-up divisions.
Regional cities to get boost
The older men’s teams – those 65 and up – will compete Tuesday through Thursday at Foskett Regional Park in Lincoln, Hal Bartholomew Sports Park in Elk Grove and the Sacramento Softball Complex in Sacramento. The younger men’s and women’s teams will play Friday through Sunday at those three parks and expands to Maidu and Mahany regional parks in Roseville. The games are free to watch.
“This is the big warm-up for the World Championships”Terry Hennessy, Chief Executive Officer of Senior Softball-USA.
The Sacramento-based organization holds major tournaments nationwide.
The Western National Championships is also a big hit for the economy, as athletes, coaches and fans stay in area hotels and enjoy meals in restaurants. The region has hosted the tournament for more than a decade.
“We look forward to the tournament every year,” said Kim Summers, Chief Executive Officer of Placer Valley Tourism and @the Grounds, home of the Roebbelen Center. “It’s such an entertaining and fun tournament, and the community enjoys watching the games, especially the older players.”
Northern California – and the Sacramento region specifically – is “really a hot bed for softball” and one of the primary reasons the tournament is held in the capital region, Hennessy said.
Placer Valley and Sacramento counties’ well-maintained softball diamonds and a supportive softball community also help bring back the tournament every year – and give local teams a bit of a home field advantage.
“It’s a lot more convenient,” said Tammy Milat, player-manager of Flash Mob. The Roseville-based team competes in the women’s 40-and-up division. “It’s nice not having to travel and being able to come home.”
Milat and many of the other athletes competing in the Western National Championships tournament have been playing softball for decades.
“Very best players”
“These are the very best players in the country,” said Hennessy, who will also play in the tournament and hand over tournament director duties. “Anyone who is paying and traveling this much (to play softball), knows the sport very well.”
But as much as athletes embrace the competition and enjoy winning, something just as important comes into play.
“A lot of the reason they play is for the camaraderie,” Hennessy said. And that can be hard to find at any age. “We like playing together,” Milat said of her 15-player team. “We just try to have fun.”