Large USSSA baseball tourney will be here this weekend

Jul. 8—Owensboro-Daviess County will be overtaken by youth baseball players and games over the next few days.

The USSSA Baseball World Series 9U-13U A Class 7-8 Open will start Thursday morning with a skills competition. Games are scheduled to start Thursday at Jack C. Fisher and Panther Creek parks.

The tournament will really get rolling on Friday, and there will be a participant parade that afternoon starting at the RiverPark Center and going down Veterans Boulevard for the start of Friday After 5.

The parade of athletes then will go to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, where there will be some presentations on the Mike Horn Stage. There will also be a pin swapping ceremony with the players and teams.

"A great opportunity to showcase downtown Owensboro to the athletes and their families," said Mark Calitri, president and CEO of Visit Owensboro.

Around 1,800 players and families are expected in Owensboro for the weekend with this tournament, which is the first tournament of this scope to be played at Fisher Park and Panther Creek Park since the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are 53 teams scheduled to be playing on Kentucky Legends Fields at Fisher Park and Panther Creek Park. The tournament will finish with championship games across the age divisions on Sunday.

"This is going to be kind of our first big major tournament, as far as magnitude of teams, since COVID," said Chris Gendek, destination services director for Visit Owensboro. "We are excited to welcome all the athletes and their families to Owensboro for the USSSA World Series this weekend. Not only will this fill both Panther Creek Park and Jack C Fisher but also it will boost our local economy by bringing business to our local restaurants, hotels and shops. This event is estimated to have an economic impact of $600,000."

There are 33 true travel teams in this tournament in the eight divisions of play. They are from seven states including Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Ohio. The tristate region will be represented by teams from Owensboro, Greenville, Madisonville, Henderson, Morganfield, Evansville and Newburgh in Indiana.

"There are 20 of those that we would call local teams," Gendek said.

The travel ball teams had players who tried out and/or were selected for their squads. Some of the effects of this many visitors on a single weekend are full hotel rooms around the area.

Gendek said from his information that most of the hotel rooms were booked with parents, athletes and families along with tournament officials from out of town.

"We've been trying to find rooms for officials," Gendek said.