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Softball mania hits Troy

The big parking lots at the Troy Sportsplex filled up early Friday, as the 2010 AHSAA Softball Super Regional began.

The two-day event has 48 high school softball teams fighting it out in Troy, for a chance to advance to the state softball championship tournament in Montgomery.

“We’ve never had an event this large,” said Troy Parks and Recreation Director Dan Smith.

“This is the largest tournament in the 20-year history of the Sportsplex.”

The turnout is even bigger than what was originally expected.

“We thought we had a good estimate and we were pleasantly incorrect,” Smith said. “The crowd has exceeded our estimates.”

Smith said the rush came early.

“This morning it was extremely hectic as we began six fields of play at 8 a.m.,” he said. “Around 10:30 or 11 o’clock, it found its groove and its been going great since.”

Scott and Don Allen traveled from Opelika to see the Beauregard Lady Hornets in action at 9:30 a.m. against Demopolis. Father, Scott, and grandfather, Don, were there to cheer on Bailey Allen, a freshman starting on the Varsity team.

“The facilities are great and it’s fun to watch these kids play,” Scott said.

The family had just returned from a big meal at Santa Fe Cattle Co. and they said they would be around awhile longer as Beauregard won their game 10-0.

Vendors were on hand to take advantage of the crowd.

“I really enjoy working this park,” said Carl Fain who set up two booths to sell his Repicci’s Italian Ice.

“Anytime I come to Troy it’s always good,” he said as he sold a $3 cherry cone to a Cordova player.

Troy Parks and Recreation had its own concessions and they recruited a lot of support to work them and to work other areas such as entry gates and score booths.

“Off-and-on between 6 a.m. and midnight tonight we’ll have had 65 part-time (workers) and 14 full-time,” Smith said.

“A lot of them are current staff and we also have some temporary help.”

Smith said the team was doing a terrific job.

“I’ve received some very good compliments and support from the AHSAA,” he said. “We really hope they will consider coming back.”

Whether Troy is selected as a future site remains to be seen, but Director of the Coaches Association for the AHSAA, Steve Bailey said he thought Troy was a suitable location.

“They (AHSAA) selected Troy for the very reason you see here,” he said motioning towards the excitement of the tournament.

“They have a large facility and you need a lot of the fields,” he said of the Sportsplex.

“They have done an outstanding job of organizing the event.”