PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – The Panama City Beach Sports Complex is trading baseball for softball this week as they host a USFA tournament.
Around 100 teams are competing starting on Tuesday in the tournament and there’s even a local one in the mix, the 12U Florida Elite.
Even though the tournament looks full, there was still around 150 teams that decided not to come this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve never had to deal with anything like we’ve had to deal with this year. If I had to put a label on this year it’s flexibility. We’ve really had to be flexible,” USFA National Director Robert Guerrero said. “The disciplines in running an event have gone out the window. Things that we were doing for this event in years past, a month, five six eight weeks out, we were all doing in a 10-14 day window.”
However, all the teams have been grateful the USFA organization was still able to put the tournament on.
“We had a group of players walk over to us at the check in and said thank you all for not canceling the event,” Guerrero said. “I gotta tell you in all the years we have been doing this it gave me the chills.”
The Florida Elite team feels the same way. They are grateful to play in this tourney and in their backyard too.
“It’s kinda like a home field advantage like in school ball, it’s really nice,” Florida Elite player Clara Martin said.
The team was also excited to face opponents from all over the country as there are teams from Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi competing this week.
“Because I mean the teams from Texas and all that, we’ve never played them before so it’s kinda nervewracking that we have no clue how the pitcher is or anything else is,” Martin said.
Florida Elite won their game against Buford Elite 6-2 on Tuesday. The tournament runs until Saturday.