In town for the North American Fastpitch Association's "B" National tournament, softball players from as far as Oklahoma and Illinois have found plenty to do in Lawrence.
"We've come to Lawrence every year for this tournament," said Daryl Hoelting, coach for the 18-and-under Salina Technocats. "It's a great town with a great softball environment and there's lots of stuff to do when you're not playing."
"Lawrence has been great," Adrianna Koepping of the 18-and-under Columbus, Neb., Bullets said. "We played sand volleyball at KU one day and we went bowling at Royal Crest Lanes for the 99 cent bowling night. We've been eating out at a lot of restaurants, too."
One major draw for the visiting players was Thursday's sidewalk sale downtown.
"I think their economy was bolstered by our attendance," Hoelting said. "I think the girls bought like 65 pairs of shoes."
"The sidewalk sale was sweet!," said Jocelyn Sanchez, 14, of the Oak Park, Ill., Huskies. "There were so many great deals."
Many teams also made a trip to KU's campus.
"The campus was very, very pretty," said Lauryn McCurry from the Tulsa, Okla.,-based 18-and-under Inferno. "I'm thinking about going to KU so it was good to get a tour."
Players and coaches also had a great impression of the tournament and the Clinton Lake Softball Complex facilities.
"Out of all the ball complexes I've been to, I'd definitely say this is one of the top five," said the Oklahoma Inferno's assistant coach Dave Hardy. "It's a really nice complex. I'd recommend it."
The tournament is coming to a close with the championship games today. The Lawrence Phenix teams wrapped up play Friday.
The 10-and-under team lost its second double-elimination bracket game Friday morning, 4-0, to the Nebraska Blue Diamonds. The 14-and-under team was defeated by the Nebraska Storm Black, 7-2, but then went on to win against the Topeka Attitude, 6-5, and the Apple Valley Eagles, 6-4 Thursday night. The 14-and-under team defeated the Topeka Splash 2-1 on Friday evening before being eliminated by the Topeka Quest, 6-1. The 14-and-under team finished tied for seventh place. The 18-and-under Phenix lost both of their bracket games, falling to the Oklahoma Pressure, 6-5, and the Nebraska Flames, 5-1.