In just over a week, ten college women's fast pitch softball teams from across the country will descend on the Gulfport Sportsplex for a three day tournament.
Before that happens though, a lot of work has to be done to get the facility in perfect condition. New fencing has to go up at the Sportsplex softball fields, and Lee Nelson is busy installing it.
"It's approximately a week and a half to two week long job. A lot of welding and fabricating to get everything to hold up over time," Nelson explained.
Instead of baseball gloves, work gloves are the standard these days. The fields themselves are getting some TLC this week. Ken Edwards is the head groundskeeper at the Sportsplex.
"We've done a major renovation on the infields where we've put in some additional clay. We had to stabilize and put some more conditioners in and that's what they need to play on. These are bigger girls coming in to play," Edwards said.
Even the parking lot is being spruced up for the tournament. Matt Bingman works for the city of Gulfport.
"We're going to be striping all the parking bays, the hashes, everything that you see that deals with anything with parking so the visitors and teams can know where to park," Bingman explained.
Even new flowers are being planted to shine the spotlight on the Sportsplex.
When it comes to the importance of hosting this tournament, first impressions are everything. And that's why city officials in Gulfport are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to prepping these field.
And the economic impact to the local community can't be overlooked, according to Leisure Services Assistant Director David D'Aquilla.
"We've run our numbers. We use a formula that derived from the University of Southern Mississippi and we anticipate it's going to be right around a million dollars. We'll have the college teams in here for four days. They'll arrive on Thursday and will be leaving on Sunday afternoon late," D'Aquilla said.
Seven of the ten teams will also be broadcasting the tournament, either by webcast or on the radio. City officials hope that spreads the word even more about what the coast has to offer.
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