College softball comes to the Mississippi Gulf Coast

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - This weekend kicked off the inaugural Mississippi Gulf Coast Softball Classic. The tournament welcomes collegiate softball players from all over the U.S.

One of those visitors is Glenn Moore, a Mississippi native and Baylor softball Head Coach.

"I'm just really proud of this area, and the way the community pulled together and rebuilt this area," said Moore.

Like most visitors, Moore is impressed by how far Gulfport has come since Hurricane Katrina, and says he jumped at the chance to play in a tournament close to his hometown.

"I knew it would be a great event, and give me an opportunity to get some exposure in this area."

David D'Aquilla, who is the Assistant Director of Leisure Services for Gulfport, says their decision to host the tournament had a lot to do with gaining exposure for the city.

"We feel like we've got a great destination here in Gulfport and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We want to try to do all we can do to bring people down here and get them exposed to it," said D'Aquilla.

Visitors like Francie Basquez, who is from California, were excited that the tournament was during Mardi Gras.

"It's great. I'm glad the weather is terrific today, so we're looking forward to going and watching a parade this afternoon," said Basquez.

Torye Hurst, who works with the coast chamber, says events like these are always good news for the local economy.

"One team last night was going to a local restaurant. You're looking at about 30 or 40 people coming in there as a group, and that's business you wouldn't have if this event wasn't here," said Hurst.

Tournament organizers have gotten great feedback, and plan on continuing the tournament for years to come.

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