GULF SHORES — Over three weeks of March, 265 teams from nine states made their way to Baldwin County for the 23rd annual Gulf Coast Classic baseball and softball tournaments hosted by the Gulf …
GULF SHORES — Over three weeks of March, 265 teams from nine states made their way to Baldwin County for the 23rd annual Gulf Coast Classic baseball and softball tournaments hosted by the Gulf Shores Dolphins.
Between 145 baseball teams and 120 softball teams, eight other states were represented on the Alabama Gulf Coast including Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Four of the five tournament champions kept the trophies in Alabama where Arkansas’ Rogers Heritage War Eagles were the lone out-of-state title winners.
Tuscaloosa County won both the baseball and softball tournaments in the first week of action before the third and final baseball championship was rained out. On the softball diamond, the Wetumpka Indians and Hewitt-Trussville Huskies took the tournament titles in Week 2 and 3 respectively.
Despite the rain that final week, every team played its minimum allotment of four games and Gulf Shores head baseball coach Chris Jacks said he was already receiving deposits for next year’s tournaments.
“I don't recall getting any complaints. We got a lot of positive stuff,” Jacks said Tuesday of the feedback he heard from other coaches. “I've already got next year's links up and running so there's teams that are signing up right now. This thing seems to grow every single year a little bit.”
Dolphin head softball coach Haley Hopkins Steege said they relish the opportunity to provide a vacation that can knock out multiple birds with one stone.
“These tournaments give a lot of kids and families the chance to get to the beach and play softball at the same time. We love being able to provide these tournaments each year to teams from all over the country,” Steege said. “I think it is a great experience for these teams to see new competition and get a chance to do a little team bonding at the same time.”