A softball tournament taking place in Gulfport has people from across the country visiting the Mississippi Coast this week.
National Fastpitch Alliance’s inaugural National Championship at the Gulfport Sportsplex has brought around 112 teams from 20 different states to Gulfport this week, all trying to show off their skills on the diamond. National Fastpitch Alliance National Coordinator Larry Willis said, “It is one venue, 15 fields. Everybody is at one location. It works out really well.”
While the main focus of the five-day event is softball, people are also experiencing some of the things the Gulf Coast has to offer. Alayna Fussell from Tennessee plans to take advantage of some of the attractions in the area when not on the field. “There’s a water park, a mall, all fun things, especially food.”
Others, like Shai-Ann Currie from Illinois have noticed and appreciated the natural beauty of the area. “I love it. I was not expecting palm trees to be here. So, when we drove up, I was like ‘there’s palm trees here?’ I think it’s beautiful. I was in Biloxi yesterday and it was gorgeous.”
The event has also provided a boost to local businesses, including hotels. Kaylee Purgatorio said, “We’ve only been at the hotel pretty much, the Hard Rock, so going to the pool and stuff. It’s really fun.”
All in all, the Gulf Coast is receiving positive reviews from visitors who have explored the area. Buzz Gold Coach Jeffrey Robertson said, “Beautiful area, everything sounds great. It’s a pretty small little area. Everything’s kind of in the same place, which is kind of nice. We can get to a lot of restaurants, a lot of shopping areas, all in the one area.”
“The Gulf Coast is getting exposed to a lot of people that haven’t been here before, I can assure you.”
The tournament ends Saturday. The public is invited to attend.