For Bryan County High School softball coach Al Butler, the Lady Redskins’ upcoming Fourth Annual Summer Slam accomplishes two things.
One, the tournament that begins Tuesday at Hendrix Park helps pay the bills. And two, it helps make his team better.
“It takes a lot of money to run a program with two teams and 25 girls participating. This tournament has been our main source of funding for the last four years,” Butler said. “In addition to funding, we use this tournament as a tune up for the season.”
In addition to Bryan County there are eight programs participating in this year’s tournament — Richmond Hill, Appling County, Thomson, Vidalia, Long County, New Hampstead, Effingham County and Pierce County. Each paid BCHS anywhere from $300 to $500 to participate, and that’s the biggest field since Butler started the tournament.
Some of those teams will have already played in tournaments this summer, but not the Lady Redskins.
At least, not officially.
“We use this tournament as a kickoff for the season,” Butler said. “At BCHS we choose to leave the bats and balls in the closet until the month of July. We are blessed at BCHS with a lot of softball talent and our girls play continuously throughout the year better preparing themselves and strengthening their skills. With them playing as much as they do I feel it is important to give them the majority of the summer off.”
But summer break for the Lady Redskins ends with Summer Slam. The Lady Redskins will play every week from here on out heading into the regular season, which begins Aug. 1. Bryan County opens play Aug. 8 and then begins the region schedule when they take on two-time Region 2-AA champ Jeff Davis on Aug. 12.
It starts, though, with Summer Slam. Which, by the way, is a week later than in years past, since Hendrix Park hosted a GRPA state tournament this week. Butler said he couldn’t ask for nicer hosts the Bryan County Recreation Department.
“Big thanks to Pratt Lockwood, Megan Myers and Stella Myrick for helping us get this event hosted at Hendrix Park,” he said. “They do a tremendous job of getting the fields ready and offering a first class facility for these teams to visit and enjoy the game of softball.”
Admission is $5 per day for parents and spectators. Concessions will be available.
3 p.m. – Bryan vs. Thomson, Pierce vs. Richmond Hill, Appling vs. Vidalia, Long vs. New Hampstead.
3:45 p.m. – Bryan vs. Richmond Hill, Pierce vs. Thomson, Appling vs. New Hampsted, Long vs. Vidalia.
6:30 p.m. – Bryan vs. Pierce, Thomson vs. Richmond Hill, Appling vs. Long,
Note: Wednesday games start at 2:30 p.m.
Noon – Bryan vs. Appling, Thomson vs. Effingham
1:30 p.m. – Bryan vs. Thomson, Appling vs. Effingham
1 p.m. – Bryan vs. Effingham, Thomson vs. Appling.