It may still be cold outside, but thoughts of spring and summer are already dancing in Bob Howard's head.
The McDuffie County Recreation Department Director is already preparing for what should be some very busy upcoming months at Sweetwater Park.
A player swings at a pitch during a little league tournament game last summer.
Jason B. Smith
Right now, signups for youth baseball and softball are underway, which cover ages five to 18. Even though the official deadline is Feb. 20, Mr. Howard said that the deadline would probably be extended.
"The teams will start practicing in March, but games won't begin until April," he said.
And just like 2003, there will be several state and national tournaments that will be coming to McDuffie County. In fact, Mr. Howard said that there will be even more events in 2004 than in 2003, which creates the potential of generating even more tourism revenue.
On June 12 there will be the USSSA church state tournaments, while on June 24-27 will be the USSSA Baseball Machine Pitch 8 and under State Tournament, as well as the 10 and under and 12 and under AA state tournaments.
July 13-18, the USSSA Boys 8 and under Machine Pitch World Series and the USSSA boys 10 and Under and 12 and Under AA National Tournaments will take place at Sweetwater Park.
Lastly, from July 26-Aug. 1, the USSSA again brings its Girls 10 and under A and B Fast Pitch World Series to McDuffie County.
State tournament sites are chosen solely by the USSSA. Mr. Howard thinks that the good word-of-mouth that is going around about Sweetwater Park is one of the reasons that it's always pegged to host different tournaments.
"(People) were very impressed with the facilities that we have here in Thomson and Sweetwater Park," he said. "They come into a small community, and they don't expect to find the quality of facilities that we have. Everything is well kept-up."
The Recreation Department must bid in order to secure World Series tournaments.