McALESTER — Oklahoma is no stranger to softball. The Amateur Softball Association is based in Oklahoma City, and both the National Softball Association and United States Specialty Sports Association have sanctioned numerous softball leagues and tournaments in the state.
Given the sport’s popularity here, it’s no wonder the World Softball League also wants in.
The WSL will make McAlester it’s first foothold when the “Bash for Bats” qualifier takes place Saturday at the Pittsburg County Softball Complex.
“In Oklahoma, it would really be the first WSL event,” tournament director Steven McCarty said Tuesday.
“I’ve always coached teams, I’ve always played on teams, but as far as running a tournament, I’m really excited.”
McCarty said between 16-18 teams will play the double-elimination tournament. Games will start around nine a.m., then continue all day and possibly deep into the night.
“To draw 16 or 18 teams is a really good turnout,” McCarty said.
As a WSL-sanctioned event, all teams competing will qualify for the WSL World Championships in September in Panama City, Fla.
“World Softball League is sponsored by Worth Products, and that’s a heavy hitter in the sports industry,” complex director Randy Norman said.
“You’re talking Worlds, you’re talking the Kentucky Derby. That’s the tops of the tops.”
Games will go seven innings, but there’ll also be a 55-minute time limit and a run rule that could end games early. Games will take place on all four fields at the Complex early on, then concentrate to fewer fields once the tournament reaches the semifinals, championship and potential “if necessary” second championship.
The championships will not have a time limit.
The top six teams will receive prize packages that could include Worth bats, WSL T-shirts, batting gloves and backpacks. The first four teams to go 0-2 and be eliminated from the main tournament will play a mini-tournament for T-shirts as well.