Twin Cities Hosting Most Teams Since 2010 This Weekend
The North Star Classic is back again for another fun weekend of softball action in beautiful Minnesota. The Twin Cities always comes through for teams with mild weather, great fields, a high level of tournament organization and of course that great Northern hospitality.
This year’s tournament field consists of 48 teams including an 8 team B Division. Peter Plaehn, NSC Tournament Director is happy with what they’ve planned for their out-of-town teams this weekend. “We’re at 48 teams, the most we’ve had since the inaugural NAGAAA Cup year in 2010 (53 teams then). We had some previous attendees strongly ask if we could find room for them and we made it happen. Adding the B Division was a challenge because we’re not on most B teams’ radar as a viable tournament, so that’s a growth process,” said Plaehn.
A big focal point of the tournament committee is to provide experienced and accomplished umpires to make sure that everything on the field goes smoothly throughout the weekend. “We have a crew this year that all has GSWS experience thanks to several former and current GSWS UICs and Assistant UICs,” added Plaehn.
The Saloon will be the site for registration on Friday. The event will go from 6 pm to 9 pm and drink specials will be available for those with tournament wristbands! Saturday and Sunday games will be held at two complexes due to the size of the tournament field. Northview Park and Lexington-Diffley will be the two complexes. Both facilities hosted games during the 2012 GSWS and they are both outstanding places to play. The Closing Party will be held at the Eagle Bolt Bar on Sunday night from 6 pm to 9 pm. There will also be drink specials available for those with wristbands. Additionally, there will also be a pig roast with all of the festivities presided over by Lucy Stoole.
The host hotels for the tournament are the Crowne Plaza Downtown Minneapolis and the Hilton Minneapolis. Both hotels are just a few blocks away from the tournament host bars and a wide array of dining and shopping options. Sponsors are always a big key to running successful tournaments and the North Star Classic has some great sponsors for this year’s tournament. “Our two long-time bar sponsors, The Saloon and Eagle/Bolt Bar, continue to be tremendous partners for us. We’re also back working with Boston Beer Co. and their Samuel Adams Lager, Angry Orchard and now Curious Traveler Shandy brands. Coors Light, a NAGAAA partner, is also being featured,” said Plaehn.
The Twin Cities are truly a great place to visit as is evident by the large contingent of teams participating in this year’s North Star Classic and its tournament director knows he’s got a good thing going. “We run a simple, fun tournament in a city that is consistently ranked as one of the best places in the country to visit and live in. It’s hard to improve on those things, honestly, so we don’t try. Anyone who visits is impressed with MSP,” stated Plaehn.
If the Minnesota hospitality or the vibrant urban core of Minneapolis isn’t enough to get you excited about this tournament the “live schedule” should. This year, the NSC will have a live schedule option on their website supported by Sport Ngin. The schedule can be updated game by game and users can toggle between divisions for fast results and updates.
The Diamond Dish will be in Minneapolis this weekend and we can’t wait to get up to the Land of 10,000 Lakes to visit one of the United States’ truly great metro areas and play ball too! Good luck to the NSC tournament committee and everyone participating in the tournament this weekend. Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone!
*Thank you to Peter Plaehn, NSC Tournament Director for his help with this tournament spotlight article.*