Tournament brings softball – and money – to south Placer

07/31/2014 8:52 PM

07/31/2014 8:32 PM

Softball has brought 86 teams of school-aged girls from five states to the playing fields of Roseville and Lincoln this week.

It has also brought an estimated $3 million to $5 million worth of business.

“It’s easy to say there are several million dollars of economic impact between hotels, restaurants and shopping,” David Attaway, chief executive officer of Placer Valley Tourism, said of the players, coaches moms, dads and grandparents – more than 4,000 people in all – who arrived earlier this week for the Western National Fastpitch tournament.

“It was a packed house,” tournament director Cassi Rogers said of the crowd at Monday’s opening ceremonies at Oakmont High School in Roseville.

Divided into 10-and-under and 12-and-under teams, the tournament is being staged at Maidu Regional Park and Mahany Park in Roseville and Foskett Park in Lincoln. The championship games will be played Sunday.

About 16 teams are local, but the remaining are from other parts of California, Hawaii, Oregon, Montana and Nevada.

Depending on how far some teams advance in the tournament, as many as 3,500 hotel rooms could be booked this week, Attaway said.

Laurie Millan, who traveled five hours with her family for the tournament from Orcutt in Santa Barbara County, went to Roseville’s Westfield Galleria and had planned to make a trip to the nearby Golfland Sunsplash.

Millan has two daughters, one playing for the Orcutt Mayhem and the other for Orcutt Sparks.

To make the trip, the teams raise funds and get sponsors. “Our goal was to have everyone’s hotel stay paid for,” Millan said.

The teams reached their goal, but that still left individual families paying for many expenses out of pocket. Millan predicted that the week will probably cost her family $300 to $400.

Rico Gubernick drove with his daughter, a right fielder for the Rancho Penasquitos Lightning, to the tournament from San Diego, about an eight-hour drive.

Even though the team did fundraisers for the trip, Gubernick said he’ll be paying for most expenses and expects to spend $1,000 for the gas, hotel and food.

The Best Western Plus at 220 Harding Blvd. in Roseville had more than half its rooms booked with softball players and their families, said Emily Garza, a front desk clerk at the hotel.

“We usually always have three teams a month, but this month we’re having like six or eight,” she said.

When the players aren’t tired after a day of play, hotel staff will give them recommendations on where to go in town.

“They usually always end up going to the Galleria mall and sometimes they go to the movie,” Garza said.

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