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Baseball tourney rakes in visitors, tourism dollars
Jul 27, 2006 12:00 am
For the second year in a row, baseball teams from across the nation are experiencing the hospitality of Lebanon and Wilson County.
Introduced to Lebanon last year by the director of Midstate Baseball in Nashville, the Continental Amateur Baseball Association (CABA) national tournament is estimated bring in $250,000 in travel expenditures to city and county cofferes based on the 600-plus baseball players participating in the competition.
Pointing to full hotel parking lots in Lebanon and Wilson County, Wilson County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Ricky Rodriguez explained visitors bring not only their cars, but cash to pay for hotel stays and food. He noted the players and parents will trek across the county to watch the games.
Approximately 625 players will compete at various fields throughout the county, such as Veterans Field, Cumberland University's Woody Hunt Stadium and Wilson Central High School until Friday, July 28, when the tournament ends with its championship game.
Rodriguez said teams traveled from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois to play, as well as one from Seattle, Wash.
By sending visitors across the county for sporting events, they are seeing more of Lebanon and Wilson County.
"We're doing this to showcase the City of Lebanon," Co-Director of Lebanon Sports Commission John Davenport said.
The Lebanon Sports Commission also put together activities for the players off the field during their stay.
"We want the players to have the total experience," Davenport said.
Players were invited to attend a luau Thursday night at the Jimmy Floyd Family Center. A fireworks show at Veteran's Field is scheduled for Monday night.
"It's a community effort," Davenport said.
Rodriguez and Davenport are pleased with the tournament and its events.
"It has proven to be successful for us," Rodriguez said.
"As long as we want to continue hosting it and keep doing a good job, its ours to keep," Davenport said.
Tickets are on sale through the Visitor's Bureau. Single day tickets are $6 and a weeklong pass is $30.
Staff Writer Kimberly Jordan can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 16 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.