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Archive for Saturday, July 12, 2008

Softball crowd sliding into town

Lawrence Phenix 18-and-under team member Kristen Bell, 15, Lawrence, left, tosses a softball to teammate Miranda Cobell, 17, Eudora, as the two practice Friday at Hobbs Field. Three Lawrence Phenix teams will participate with about 60 other teams in the North American Fastpitch Association's championships, set to take place next week at YSI and Clinton Lake softball complexes.

Lawrence Phenix 18-and-under team member Kristen Bell, 15, Lawrence, left, tosses a softball to teammate Miranda Cobell, 17, Eudora, as the two practice Friday at Hobbs Field. Three Lawrence Phenix teams will participate with about 60 other teams in the North American Fastpitch Association's championships, set to take place next week at YSI and Clinton Lake softball complexes.

July 12, 2008

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Softball competition starts this week

The North American Fast-Pitch Association is back in Lawrence for the fourth year in a row. Enlarge video

A certain charm has lured the North American Fastpitch Association to host the "B" National Championships in Lawrence for the fourth year in a row.

"People love the atmosphere of (Lawrence)," said Kala Bray, NAFA assistant state director. "They are close to a metro area, so they don't have to travel far to experience bigger things."

The athletes are divided into three age groups: 10-and-under, 12-and-under and 18-and-under. The championships will involve about 3,000 visiting players, coaches, parents and fans. But more people were here last year.

"The number of teams this year has dropped off quite a bit," said Bob Sanner, of the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau. "You can maybe chalk it up to the price of gasoline. We can say that we're planning on about $500,000 in total direct spending."

Hosting such an event benefits the city and its businesses.

"The hotels really enjoy this event," Sanner said. "That Monday-through-Thursday business for hotels is really difficult, so when this event rolls into town they get really excited because it's generating anywhere between 250 and 300 rooms a night."

Out-of-state teams are expected to have large followings.

"They all have a huge home fan base that travels with them, so we're not expecting a very big home-field advantage," said Barry Johnson, coach of the 10-and-under Lawrence Phenix team. " : But it's also great that people that aren't from Kansas get to experience Lawrence."

The competition is set to wrap up on July 19.

Comments

hoosier 6 years, 6 months ago

Good luck to all Phenix players and coaches. We look forward to seeing all play this week!

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