Shorter University recently announced it will relocate its NAIA Softball Invitational Tournament to Wilson Morgan Park in Decatur under a five year contract. Set for February 23-26, 2012, the four day tournament will be hosted by the Decatur Parks and Recreation Department and is expected to attract 20 women’s teams from across the southeastern United States.
For the past 4 years, the Softball Invitational has been held on the college’s home field, Alto Park Softball Complex located in West Rome. Organizers recently announced the relocation of the event from Rome to Wilson Morgan Park to accommodate and allow for its continued growth. The 2011 event attracted 16 teams from six states.
“We are thrilled Decatur, Alabama and its officials will be the host of this softball tournament. Their experience of previously hosting the NAIA National Softball Championship will certainly be a beacon of light as we move forward to prepare for this growing event,” said Al Thomas, head softball coach for Shorter University.
“I am ecstatic the Decatur Parks & Recreation Department, Decatur/Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Shorter University, and Head Coach Al Thomas could reach an agreement to bring the Shorter University Invitational Softball Tournament to the city of Decatur and Wilson Morgan Softball Complex,” said David Wisdom, Wilson Morgan Complex Softball Manager. “We feel by bringing this tournament to Decatur it is a win, win situation for everyone involved. We will be able to increase the number of teams that will be able to participate in the tournament as well as extend the tournament from two days to a four day event. This event will bring welcomed revenue in February to the hotels, restaurants and shopping centers during a time that is typically slow for the hospitality industry.”
Wisdom is credited with bringing the tournament to Decatur. According to Kelly Varnell, Recreation Superintendent for the Decatur Parks and Recreation, Wisdom served as a host coach for Shorter University during the NAIA Softball National Championship in Decatur in 2009 and 2010. He not only became friends with the coaching staff but to the players and their families and traveled to their home field to watch them play. David took a simple task of serving as a host coach to developing a strong bond between him and the entire softball family of Shorter University.
“I am very proud and honored to have played a part in bringing this tournament to Decatur but I believe this agreement was made due to the City of Decatur's dedication and reputation earned while hosting the NAIA Softball National Championships the previous 13 years at Wilson Morgan Complex in which Shorter University was a participant. The city of Decatur, Decatur/Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau, hotels, Parks & Recreation's facilities, dedicated employees and the best grounds crew in America all aided in securing this tournament,” added Wisdom.
Wilson Morgan Softball Complex features six lighted fields, centrally located concessions, quad, press box and batting cages. Each field has a clay infield and beautiful grass, maintained by electronically controlled underground irrigation systems. The facility can seat over 2,000 spectators with additional seating available. For more information on Wilson Morgan Softball Complex, visit www.decaturparks.com.
For additional information on the 2012 Softball Invitational Tournament, contact David Wisdom at 256.341.4934.
Shorter University is a liberal arts Southern Baptist-affiliated University located in Rome, Georgia. For more information, visit www.goshorterhawks.com.