Thirty-six teams from Southern to Northern California, Oregon and even Hawaii gathered at Pedretti Field on Tuesday to kick of the 2012 Western National Championship Softball Tournament. Teams from two divisions, 16 and under and 18 and under, competed in the first of two pool games, the second of which will be played today, to determine tournament seeding and get a feel for their opponents.
This year marks the second time the Western National Championship Tournament was held in Turlock, with the first held in 2001. The Amateur Softball Association’s approval of Turlock as the host site comes two years after the city’s initial bid.
“This is a great opportunity for the city of Turlock to showcase our fields and athletic facilities,” City of Turlock Recreation tournament director Mark Crivelli said. “What better way to showcase that than with the Western National Tournament?”
Tuesday began with an opening ceremony at 9 a.m. and was followed with several 16u games that started at noon. The 16u division is projected to be the more competitive of the two divisions with a total of 25 teams involved compared to the 18u’s 11.
In addition to an athletic showcase, Crivelli expects an uptick in Turlock’s general revenue as the players, their coaches, family, and friends visit restaurants and shops around town.
“For the teams that aren’t local, they don’t know what we have here so they’re going to get to see what Turlock has to offer,” Crivelli said.
The Western National Championship game with be held on Sunday. No Turlock teams are participating in the tournament.