Tournaments benefit biz

Published 12:37 am Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Days Inn was among the hotels in Andalusia that were booked.

The majority of Andalusia hotels are booked as visitors attending a full schedule of baseball and domino tournaments swarmed Andalusia on Wednesday.

Opening ceremonies for the 8U Cal Ripken Southeast Baseball Regional Tournament were held last night, and the first game is scheduled for 9 a.m. today, between Fishhawk, Fla., and Matthews, N.C., at Johnson Park.

Teams are coming in from Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and South Carolina. Andalusia and Opp also have teams playing in the tournament.

Alan Bracewell, superintendent of parks and recreation for the City of Andalusia, said 20 teams are scheduled to play in the tournament.

“We’ve got an average of 12 kids per team and their families – all of whom are coming from West and East Tennessee, South Carolina, North and South Florida, West and East North Carolina, Virginia, and of course, Alabama,” Bracewell said.

With that many teams, it’s no wonder local hotels are seeing an increase in business.

The Andalusia Rotary Club is also sponsoring the World Championship Domino Tournament Friday and Saturday at the Kiwanis Community Center.

People from as far away as Kansas City, Mo., McAlister, Okla., Mystique, Texas and Baton Rouge, La., come for their chance to call themselves “world champions” in dominos.

A Comfort Inn staff member confirmed that all 48 rooms were booked in their hotel.

Salynn Mullen of the Day’s Inn said all 43 of their rooms were booked as well, and people were beginning to come in Wednesday.

“It’s going to be busy,” she said. “We’re happy about it. It’s really good for our business.”

Diane at the Holiday Inn said that all 68 rooms were booked through the weekend.

“We have 68 rooms,” she said. “What’s not booked for the baseball tournament is booked for the domino tournament. It’s good for business, and we’re really excited to have the business.”

The arrival of the bevy of ball players this month and last is expected to help more than just local businesses.

It is expected to generation an estimated $25,000 in lodging tax revenue, and allow the county to help host its third Babe Ruth World Series event in 2013.

In May, Eddie Stacey, a member of the Covington County Rec Board, approached the county commission and asked them to designate two months of lodging tax specifically for the 2013 16-to-18-year-old Babe Ruth World Series.

“These are great opportunities for us,” Stacey said. “We thought that it would only be fair to use that money to create another opportunity since (ball players) would be filling the hotels for those two months.”

Lodging tax collections are designated to fund recreation throughout the county.