The action was nonstop at the Day Complex and Cluster Springs Ball Park over the weekend.
Two days of baseball with teams from all over Virginia and North Carolina not only featured competition, but also brought an infusion of tourism for the second weekend in a row.
LaTonya Sadler Hamilton, Halifax County tourism director, said last week that hosting NC GameOn Sports travel baseball tournaments in the county represented a step forward for a community after coronavirus restrictions have hampered most activities.
“The gradual return of tourism events, and sports tournaments in particular, to our community is another optimistic step forward,” she said. “As part of the hospitality and tourism industry’s recovery, we’re going to continue to shine a light on what we have to offer as a destination while maintaining safe and responsible experiences,” she added.
As coronavirus cases rise in Southern Virginia, safety and responsivity was an important aspect of the weekend at the ballparks. NC GameOn Sports officials made sure safety and health measures were in place and that social distancing was followed throughout the weekend. While there were close to 40 teams playing in the county, having the games spread out throughout the day and played at seven different fields at the two complexes, it allowed for the teams and their friends and family to adhere to the guidelines.
Hamilton also said the revenue events like travel baseball tournaments help the community in many different ways.
“Tourism is an instant revenue generator,” she said. “Visitors will spend money in our community whether it is lodging, food, gas or visiting one of our attractions, and that helps to provide economic position and provide opportunity for people in our community.”
While the tournament provided many positives off the field, the action on the field was just as positive. The teams battled the heat and each other as they competed for the championship rings.
On Sunday, championship bracket play began as the seeding was based off of each team’s results from pool play on Saturday.
Local teams had up and down results in the championship bracket. In the 9U Open division, the Virginia Squires fell in the first round of the championship bracket and were eliminated. After going undefeated in pool play on Saturday, the 10U D3 Virginia Squires fell to the HYAA Hawks in the championship bracket on Sunday and also were eliminated.
The 11U Open division had two local teams competing with the Virginia Squires falling in their opening game of the championship bracket and the Spartans winning their opening game of the bracket, but falling in the semifinals game, coming one game short of making it to the championship game.
The 12U D3 division saw two local teams competing in the silver and gold championship games. In the silver bracket, the Southside Panthers were the runners up and the Punishers beat the top-seed North Wake Dodgers in the semifinals to play in the gold bracket championship game. The Punishers finished as runners up in the gold bracket, losing to the Garciaparra Baseball Group VA in the championship game.
In the 13U Open division, the Virginia Squires made it to the silver bracket championship game before falling to the North Wake Avalanche.
As the eighth annual Ring Championship came to a close, the focus switched to this weekend where NC GameOn Sports is bringing the King of the Diamond tournament to South Boston. More than 40 teams have signed up for the tournament and locations and game times will be announced later in the week.
There is also a chance for more travel baseball tournaments this summer as tournament director Randy Smith said on Sunday that NC GameOn Sports is awaiting a press conference this week from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to determine if they will be able to host future scheduled tournaments in North Carolina or not.
Smith said if Cooper keeps restrictions in place they would be looking to move future tournaments to Halifax County as well.