Phoenix Is Pulling Double Tournament Duty This Weekend
There are few things that sound as good as Phoenix, Arizona in April to most of the country, and this weekend Phoenix will be home to nearly 90 teams participating in the Saguaro Cup and the NAGAAA Cup!
The Saguaro Cup is in its 22nd year and Phoenix is in its second consecutive year of hosting the NAGAAA Cup. The NAGAAA Cup encompasses A and B Divisions with C, D and Women’s Divisions making up the Saguaro Cup field. While NAGAAA Assistant Commissioner, Keith Speers will be heading up the NAGAAA Cup, the Cactus Cities Softball League is responsible for the hosting duties associated with the NAGAAA Cup and running their own full-fledged tournament on the same weekend.
Shane Mirkovich is the Assistant Open Commissioner for the CCSL and it’s clear that his tournament committee is excited about this weekend’s events in Phoenix. “The City of Phoenix does a great job with maintaining their tournament fields and providing an excellent player experience. Phoenix has great weather and the Valley provides a great backdrop while out on the fields. We have tried to make improvements to our tournament each year. Our goal is to provide great value for the money, a fair tournament and an overall fun time for all the teams. We feel very fortunate that we have teams return again and again to make SC an awesome weekend,” said Mirkovich.
With 90 teams and two separate tournaments running at the same time one could imagine there could be some issues, however both NAGAAA and the CCSL are ready for the challenge. “It is probably easier that NAGAAA Cup coincides with Saguaro Cup. Since we are having Saguaro Cup at the same time, all the events are shared between the two tournaments, which is work we don’t have to duplicate if they were separate,”said Mirkovich.
NAGAAA Assistant Commissioner, Keith Speers has been impressed with the CCSL as repeat hosts of the NAGAAA Cup. “Our partnership with CCSL for the last two years has been great. It’s nice to have familiar voices on the other end of the phone – people you know you can call if there is a local issue to resolve. They work hard to deliver a great experience for our players and teams. This is evidenced by the fact that we have a record 30 teams participating in the Cup this year. The NAGAAA Cup is becoming a must attend tournament for our upper division teams,” added Speers.
Some great events await all participants in both tournaments this weekend. The tournament officially kicks off with the Registration Party at the Hilton Garden Inn Midtown Phoenix from 7 – 10 pm on Friday night. Saturday’s feature events include Team Dinner Night at Bliss ReBAR where you can make reservations for dinner on Saturday! Now, if your team’s performance on the field is lacking, Bliss ReBAR is also accepting reservations for brunch on Sunday. Look for teams that make an early exit to take them up on their offer to stop by for brunch on Sunday! The other Saturday evening event is the Saturday After Party at BS West where drinks will be 2-4-1 for players. Charlie’s Phoenix is the place to be on Sunday after the games. The bar will provide free food with your wristband beginning at 5 pm with trophy presentations scheduled to begin around 7 pm.
Honorary sponsors of the Saguaro Cup and NAGAAA Cup include Apollo’s Lounge, Twisted Peacock, Plazma, Roscoe’s Sports Bar & Grill, Hulas Modern Tiki, Pat O’s Bunkhouse, Stacy’s at Melrose, The Rock, Harvey’s Wineburger, Ticoz and Karamaba Nightclub.
The host hotels for the tournament are the Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Midtown and the Hilton Suites Phoenix. There are some new field complexes being thrown into the mix to get all the games completed in a timely manner. The field complexes include Desert West, Rose Mofford and Papago in Phoenix. This year there are also complexes in nearby Mesa and Gilbert. Those complexes include Skyline Sports Complex, Red Mountain Sports Complex and Freestone Sports Complex. All of the facilities allow alcohol besides Freestone in Gilbert, Arizona. Make sure that you’re leaving those coolers of beer/alcohol in your vehicles or at the hotel as the concessions at the complexes will have alcohol for sale!
A dynamite field has been assembled for the largest NAGAAA Cup ever with 8 teams competing in the A Division and 22 teams in the B Division. All games in the NAGAAA Cup will be using the new Pick-A-Stick bats in line with what all players will find at the Gay Softball World Series this August in Columbus, Ohio. No personal use bats will allowed as everyone will be hitting the same bats in every game. Those bats that were in play throughout the day will be tested at night to make sure they all meet regulations for safety and fair play purposes. The Saguaro Cup is no slouch with a 25 team C Division, a 20 team D Division and 14 teams in its Women’s Division.
Get ready for a great weekend in Arizona as Phoenix does its best to make a statement with its bid for the 2017 Gay Softball World Series looming in the balance.
*Thank you to Shane Mirkovich, CCSL Assistant Open Commissioner and to Keith Speers, NAGAAA Assistant Commissioner for their help with this tournament spotlight article.*