In less than two weeks, around 100 of the top 12-and-under fastpitch softball teams in the nation will compete in the Quad-Cities for the opportunity to become a national champion.
The field for the USA/ASA Girls 12-and-under Fastpitch National Tournament is being finalized on diamonds across the country this month and once registration closes, organizers expect over 80 teams to be part of the fifth national tourney to be hosted by the City of Moline in the past decade.
This year’s tournament marks the first time an age group has returned to the Quad-Cities and the first 12-and-under tournament held here in 2004 is remembered for both the intensity of the competition and the colorful pageantry of pre-tournament ceremonies.
Both will again be part of the festivities at this year’s tournament, which will be contested from July 30-August 5, 2012, at the Greenvalley Sports Complex in Moline, Illinois, and the Alan Campbell Complex in Rock Island, Illinois.
The national tourney begins with a colorful Olympic-style opening ceremony at the i wireless Center in downtown Moline scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 29.
While players and fans will enjoy Quad-Cities hospitality throughout the week, softball diamonds in Moline and Rock Island will be the center of attention beginning on Monday, July 30.
That day, two days of pool play begins preceding championship bracket competition that is scheduled to start on Wednesday, Aug. 1. Up to 40 games per day will be held as teams from coast-to-coast compete for the chance to be a national champion. The championship game is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 5.
Teams from every corner of the United States – from California to Texas to Florida to Washington – have already registered to be part of this year’s USA/ASA Girls 12-and-under Fastpitch National Tournament field.
As has been the case in previous years when the Quad-Cities has hosted a national tourney – welcoming 12-and-under teams in 2004, 10-and-under teams in 2006, 18-and-under teams in 2008 and 14-and-under teams in 2010 – the economic benefits of the event are felt throughout the Quad-Cities region.
According to the Quad-Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, participants and spectators will make a $2.5 million impact on the local economy during this week-long tournament.
After surveying some of the families that were here last time, they cited the convenience of travel and getting around, friendliness, hospitality, and how well the community embraced the tournament. They listed shopping, movies, the Mississippi Valley Fair, Mississippi River, John Deere Pavilion, eating at restaurants, and attending a River Bandits game as their top activities off the softball field.
The Quad Cities is located on the Mississippi River and is made up of the riverfront cities of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois. The area is just a 2-½ hour drive from Des Moines, Iowa, and Chicago, Illinois. It is easily accessible via I-80, I-74, I-88 and several major state highways. www.visitquadcities.com