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World Series events at Sweetwater Park mean big boost to area economy

When major softball and baseball tournaments are hosted at Sweetwater Park near Thomson drawing thousands of participants and fans, such events significantly impact the economy of McDuffie County, as well as two adjoining counties.

It just so happens that the Thomson-McDuffie Recreation and Leisure Services is playing host to one such world series event next week.

Another world series had been planned this week at the local park, but because of a lack of interest, it was canceled. It involved boys eight and under playing baseball with the use of the pitching machine. By the deadline to register, only two teams had signed up, according to a local recreation department official.

Next week's world series is expected to go on without a hitch.

"Anytime, we have big world series tournaments, which bring in the kind of crowds that we've had in recent years at Sweetwater Park, it means a lot more money for local businesses - especially motels, restaurants and places that sell gasoline," said Recreation Director Bob Howard. "We're very fortunate to be able to host at least one to two of these tournaments every year in McDuffie County."

Since McDuffie County doesn't have enough motels to accommodate all the teams that participate in such major softball, baseball tournaments, then some of the participants and their followers have to find lodging in nearby Columbia and Richmond counties.

"It'd be nice to have a few more motels here in the Thomson area, but we don't, so we just have to make do with what we have," Mr. Howard said. "And when the ones fill up around here, we direct them to other places like Martinez, Evans and Augusta."

Next week, the economic impact will be felt even greater, as more than 80 teams from across the United States travel to Thomson and McDuffie County to participate in the United States Specialty Sports Association Slow-Pitch World Series that includes youngsters to teenagers playing in several different age divisions.

When it comes to the economic impact that this particular world series has on the area, "it's way up there in the thousands and thousands of dollars that are spent in McDuffie, Columbia and Richmond counties," Mr. Howard said. "It's real, real good for our local businesses."

Opening ceremonies are to be conducted next Thursday at Sweetwater Park before world series teams representing numerous states begin play.

Web posted on Thursday, July 12, 2007

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