On Saturday more than 80 people gathered at the Thomaston-Upson County Civic Center to play in the First Annual Lady Knights Coed Softball Tournament. Eight teams entered the tournament, which started around 9 a.m. and ended with the Championship Game around 7 p.m.
Many softball players from the area dusted off their cleats and gloves, and throughout the day cheers and laughs from around the complex could be heard. From former players in the old Industrial League, to seniors from the Lady Knights team from last season, played in the tournament. According to many of the players, Lady Knights new head coach Stephen Hammock and his assistant coaches Michael Presley and Michael Kirby put on one of the better tournaments in recent memory.
“I’m very appreciative of Brandon Logue, Paul Nordan, Mindy Daniel and the Recreation Department for enabling this tournament to take place,” explained Hammock. “I’m very proud of the bond that Upson Lee High School has with this community. This is Knight country. I can’t thank the people of this community enough. We had 8 teams and over 80 players take part in the tournament, many coming from out of town back home. We had local businesses who sponsored teams, such as Thomaston Milk Company, Hometown Printers, and Ultimate Sports.”
“Other teams were comprised of former athletes and groups of friends looking for fun and fellowship such as New Hope Church,” said Hammock. “We also had a vast number of spectators cheering on their friends, brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers. I’m very proud of the support that Knights Softball received. We raised an impressive amount of money that will be used in purchasing uniforms, equipment, and umpires for our upcoming season.
“The funds are secondary to the memories that were made. I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed watching the players,” said Hammock. “One of my team mottos is “BE HARD TO BEAT,” and I truly believe this tournament reflected that mentality. Lady Knights’ softball is a product of this community, and the tournament indicated as much. I look forward to hosting more of these community events, and hope to earn your support as our season gets underway in August.”
Shortly after lunch, about 10 women and nearly 20 men entered their respective Home Run Derbies. In the women’s Home Run Derby, any ball hit over 180 feet counted as a homer. Although Caitlyn Asbell hit the furthest home run for the women, a ball that hit off the bottom of the fence on the 285-foot field, it was Harleigh Lippert who hit three home runs, one more than Asbell, and winning the Home Run Derby.
On the men’s side of things, their would be a tie between Andrew Crews and Skip Perry. Each hit four home run on their 10 swings, and had to go into an extra round, where Perry eventually won the event. Perry also hit the furthest home run, when a ball he hit easily cleared the road some 30 feet beyond the fence.
At the end of the day, it was the Thomaston Company Milk Duds who defeated the Chicks and Sticks to win the tournament. The Milk Duds went undefeated in the double elimination tournament. For more pictures from the fun filled day, see page 4B.
Wes McCard can be contacted at (706) 647-5414 or on Twitter @WesMc21.