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Village Vision News

ASA national and state tournaments are big hits

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Teri Hammel, executive director of the Decatur Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, told trustees at the Aug. 3 meeting that the two recent American Softball Association tournaments held on consecutive weekends at Forsyth Park were a huge success. This was her second time attending a national tournament, but she said this one was the “most rewarding.”

“Everyone loved the facility, the fields, it was amazing,” Hammel said. “The ASA people were just blown away.”

Hammel offered special recognition to the field maintenance staff members for how hard they worked through long, hot days. She was also proud of the large number of spectators who came out to support the tournaments, and she was pleased with the media coverage. She added that there had been “tons of compliments on the village.”

Trustee Larry Reed offered special thanks to Clarkson Grain for bringing two local teams — both based in Cerro Gordo — to compete in each of the two tournaments. The close ties to the area helped bring more local fans to the park, Reed said.

When the national tournament was decided on July 26, the Cobourg Force (from Canada) defeated one Cerro Gordo team, the Clarkson Grain Legends, to prevail as the ASA Men’s Over 50 Fast Pitch National Champions.

In addition to having a team with local flavor, there were teams in town competing from as far away as Canada, California and Michigan.

In the state tournament, which finished on Aug. 2, the other Cerro Gordo team, the Broncos, defeated Pinckneyville to finish as the ASA Men’s Fast Pitch State Tournament Champions.

The Broncos’ path was not easy as they needed three victories on Sunday, coming out of the consolation bracket after a Saturday loss. But they got all three wins, including the championship title.

Public Works Director Larry Coloni reported to trustees that his staff did a great job taking care of the fields leading up to and during both tournaments. It was a sentiment he heard from coaches and players, he said. Coloni said that one player was so impressed with the condition of the fields that he asked two of the grounds crew members to autograph a ball for him.

Coloni said his guys worked hard, but they were honored to take care of the fields. His staff included: Trent Younker, Clayton Zilz, Ron Gillespie, Ryan Scott, Tyler Ortman and Tom Spriggs.

“This was a memorable event,” he said. “My guys will remember this their whole lives.”

Hammel said the national tournament will likely move on to Ohio or Michigan since it doesn’t come back to the same venue two years in a row. But, she was 90 percent certain that the state tournament will return next season. She also offered to try to lure another tournament to town if trustees were interested in hosting two events again, which they were.

Hammel told trustees that she would have a more detailed report to deliver at an upcoming board meeting regarding the economic effects of hosting the two tournaments. 

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