TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Dozens of softball players walked away from the USSSA Fastpitch Midwest National tournament as champions Saturday, but they weren’t the only ones who got something out of it.
Softball and baseball tournaments are a huge moneymaker for Shawnee County.
Officials said they hope they can continue to bring large sporting events like this one to the capital city.
The tournament brought in 39 teams from seven states.
“It’s really exciting that we get to host these big events like this,” said Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Sports Event Manager Nate Greer. “We have people coming from seven different states all over the region, staying in Topeka for three or four days. So, a tournament like this could be estimated to bring in about $250,000.”
Over the course of the summer, the county is estimated to bring in over $5 million from hosting baseball and softball tournaments at Lake Shawnee.
Businesses nearby like the Landing Grille & Bar said these tournaments bring more people in their doors.
“It helps us a lot during the week,” said Aubrey Burgett. “Especially during a slower time like summer is generally, so we appreciate all the business that we get from them.”
The county said they want to continue bringing in large tournaments and are already taking steps to do so.
In June, county commissioners approved a series of upgrades that will be made to the Lake Shawnee Girls Softball Complex, like artificial turf on the infield of the diamonds and new backstops.
“We’re really proud that the county and you know, everybody working has put in a lot of time and effort and money into these complexes,” said Greer. “We’ve had a lot of compliments from people saying these facilities are beautiful. Our staff is doing a great job.”
Greer said he believes upgrades like these can help make Shawnee County a premier sporting event destination.