Softball tourney brings visitors and their dollars to Picayune

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Thirty teams competed Saturday in the Money Bash Tournament at Friendship Park.
There were teams from all around Mississippi as well as teams from Alabama and Louisiana. There was also one team competing from Dallas, Texas.
According to Picayune’s Director of Parks and Recreation Heath Stevens, this tournament was just one out of the many tournaments Picayune hosts within a calendar year.
“Over the past year we have become a huge destination for tournaments,” Stevens said.
The Money Bash tournament was the eighth tournament held in Picayune this year, Stevens said.
Friendship Park has turned into the main site for softball tournaments and other athletic events. Stevens said there is something going on at the park almost every weekend.
“That’s our objective, turning Friendship Park into a tourist attraction,” Stevens said.
One of Stevens’ main goals when he took over as the director of parks and recreation was to improve the fields at Friendship Park, which he has done. He is also quick to credit the team he has working around him.
“We have done so much field maintenance, they shed water better than they ever have,” Stevens said.
Picayune’s economy is benefiting from the traffic these tournaments bring to town, Stevens said. Many times teams will stay in town over night, which means booking hotels and eating at restaurants.
“Anytime there is an influx of people in town, everybody benefits,” Stevens said.
The Parks and Recreation Department received a $500 check Saturday for the direct physical usage of Friendship Park, Stevens said.
“We get a check just for them showing up, however getting people to the city is where the majority of the money is made,” Stevens said.
The Money Bash tournament was a larger tournament, which Stevens said Picayune only hosts about twice a month. However, busy season for tournaments will begin next month and go through the end of July.
The next large tournament Picayune will host is the Firecracker Classic, a boy’s baseball tournament, which will take place on June 6th. Stevens said he is expecting about 115 teams to play in the tournament.

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