SWLA holds onto Fast Pitch 56 tournament

By Tom Annino - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - There's nothing quite like Fast Pitch 56.

And luckily for the people of southwest Louisiana, the tournament isn't going anywhere.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association is keeping the tournament in Sulphur by approving a four-year extension.  The tournament will now be held in southwest Louisiana through 2014.

This measure is double what the LHSAA usually provides for most extensions, considering the extensions are usually just two years long.

The city of Lake Charles will also host a high school playoff event beginning in 2012.  The Lake Charles Civic Center will be the venue for the boys and girls high school basketball Top 28 southwest region games.  That event will be held in both 2012 and 2013.

To read the entire Fast Pitch 56 news release from the Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau, it's posted below.

The following is a news release from the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau:

LAKE CHARLES, LA — In an unprecedented 20-1 vote, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association agreed to keep the Fast Pitch 56 Girls State Softball Tournament in Sulphur for another four years (2011-2014) instead of its usual two year commitment.

The decision was made at the organization's annual bid day on Wed., June 2, in Baton Rouge, La.  Next year will mark the 11th year that the two-day tournament will be held in the area.

"We couldn't be more excited to have the tournament secured for four more years," said Norman Farr, director of Sulphur Parks and Recreation. "We have really grown to love this event over the past 10 years and look forward to its arrival each year."

The average attendance at the tournament is around 18,000 people and hotels across the parish sell out for the weekend, making this a win-win situation for not only Sulphur, but all of Calcasieu Parish.

"This tournament is huge. These teams don't just travel to play ball for the weekend; in between games, they eat in our restaurants, visit our attractions and much more," said Eric Zartler, senior sales manager/athletics for the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Economically, you are looking at a $3 million impact each year. This is new tax dollars that mean better roads, schools and other infrastructure for us all."

For more information, contact the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau at (337) 436-9588 or (800) 456-SWLA, or visit www.visitlakecharles.org

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