VALDOSTA -- The question of who is the best Class A men's softball team in the East will be decided in a town appropriately called Winnersville.
The American Softball Association's Men's Class A East slow-pitch national tournament will be played this weekend at Valdosta's Freedom Park.
"This should be a very good tournament," tournament director Cecil Whitehead said. "Very skilled athletes, very good teams. This is some of the best softball we've had played here."
There will be 21 teams competing this weekend, coming from all over the eastern United States. That's a smaller number than most nationals, but that's because there are fewer teams talented enough to play in Class A, one of softball's most elite classifications.
"There aren't going to be as many teams here, but the ones that are here are all going to be good," said tournament assistant director Jon Harrell.
The winner of the tournament will receive a berth to the ASA national final in Oklahoma City, where they will play the ASA West national champions. The West tournament is being held this weekend in McAllen, Tex.
Visitors to the park are not advised to park behind the outfield fences this weekend, because those who do could find themselves with broken windshields. There will be plenty of home runs hit. Most teams have multiple players who can hit the ball out of the park, and the tournament allows nine home runs per team per game.
The tournament's opening ceremonies will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday. About 30 minutes later, the games begin. Games will be played Friday night and all day Saturday, and the championship games will be Sunday morning.
"We're going to get started playing right after opening ceremonies. We'll play Friday, Saturday, then play the third-place game at 10 a.m. Sunday and the championship game at 11:30, and the (if-necessary) game at 1 (p.m.)," Whitehead said.
Three Georgia teams will be competing in the tournament. That includes the defending East champions, Aubrey's TPS of Savannah. Aubrey's will have a Valdostan playing for them, Kyle Cowart. No local teams will compete.
The tournament is free and open to the public.
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