Georgetown bags pair of softball tournaments

Georgetown County will host not one but two world series tournaments in 2012.

The county was chosen to host the 2012 Dixie Softball Youth Angels World Series and the Darlings World Series at a meeting of Dixie officials on Friday.

"They were excited about the brand-new facility and the location," said Beth Goodale, the parks and recreation director.

The two tournaments will be played July 27 to Aug. 1 at 8 Oaks Regional Park, said Paul McCulloch, the Georgetown Recreation Manager.

Goodale said the county will be pressed to have 8 Oaks park completed in time for the tournament.

The park, which will be built off U.S. 521/17, is part of the county's capital improvement plan, with $77 million dedicated to recreation projects. At least 10 parks will be built.

Once the first phase of construction is completed, 8 Oaks will have nine baseball/softball fields.

"It's always been our plan to develop facilities so we can be competitive in bidding for state and nationwide tournaments," Goodale said.

Goodale said the tournaments will bring more than 400 softball-bat swinging girls, their parents and coaches to Georgetown County.

Each softball player is expected to bring four people with them, meaning around 2,000 people are expected, she said.

And, she said, that's not counting spectators with no connection to a player who will come to watch the tournament.

"We're going to have a lot of people in town," she said.

The tournaments will pump between $500,000 to $800,000 into the county's economy, based on estimates from Dixie officials and other cities that have hosted those tournaments, Goodale said.

"We also think the fact that we're a beach and tourism destination will mean some families will extend their stay," Goodale said.

Goodale said Georgetown hosted the Dixie Ponytails world series tournament in 1985, but as far as she knows there haven't been any tournaments of this scale in the area in recent years.

"We'll have to build some partnerships to pull this off," she said.

She said the county will need volunteers to help organize the tournament and promote the attractions and dining options in the area.

Goodale said the goal is to make these visitors "fall in love with Georgetown and come back for future vacations."

The Dixie Softball website says Georgetown was the only league to bid for the Darlings World Series. But Georgetown beat out the other bidder, Powhatan, Va., to host the Angels World Series.

Darlings is the youngest age group, with 7- and 8-year-old players. Angels is the next oldest group, with 9- and 10-year-old players.

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