ACHIEVERS: Softball group honors Prescott for national tournaments
PRESCOTT - Softball has been good to Prescott, to paraphrase the late Whitey Herzog, a professional baseball player and manager.
Prescott joins Kingman, Tucson and Yuma as the top venues in Arizona for hosting softball tournaments, said Don Fishel, tournament supervisor and state commissioner for the Amateur Softball Association of America.
"Prescott is well known by the way we run tournaments," said Fishel, the city's recreation supervisor.
"You've got to have location," Fishel said. "You've got to have enough lodging. You have to have a good facility. You have to have a good tournament committee. You have to have a city to support it."
Prescott has hosted national tournaments throughout the past decade except in 2002, and earned at least one national award for those years from ASA, Fishel said. City officials bid to host the tournaments.
In 2010, Prescott hit it big in the eyes of the ASA by hosting three national tournaments: at Pioneer Park, and Ken Lindley and Bill Vallely fields.
ASA honored Prescott with the James Farrell ASA Award of Excellence for three of the highest-rated ASA tournaments in 2010, said Julie Bartel, director of marketing and communications. ASA, based in Oklahoma City, also honored Tupelo and Ridgeland, Miss., and Rolla, Mo., for hosting three tournaments in 2010, Bartel said. The award is named for the late James Farrell, a St. Louis ASA commissioner and national staff member who died in 2000.
To attain the Farrell award, cities must do an outstanding job of hosting national championship tournaments and reach a percentile of 95 percent in each of the evaluation categories of ASA representatives, umpire-in-chief and national office.
Bartel said Prescott has "always done a fantastic job" hosting national ASA tournaments.
Prescott's reputation for softball began 35 years ago with the late A.C. Williams, Fishel said. Williams was the city's parks and recreation director and state ASA director.
"He got it to where the reputation was made by doing men's fast pitch (softball)," Fishel said.
Fishel works out of the Grace M. Sparkes Activity Center, which houses the Arizona Softball Hall of Fame.
Fishel noted Prescott's performance in 2010 helped the city to secure additional first-time tournaments this year and in 2012. They include 16 and under, and 18 and under Class B fast-pitch national tournaments for girls Aug. 3-7, and a Class A fast-pitch Western national for girls 18 and under in 2012.
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