What began as a 40-team, three-day softball showcase at Twin Creeks Softball Complex three years ago, has expanded to become the premier college recruiting fastpitch event in the southeast and one of the three largest in the nation.
The Atlanta Legacy Showcase, which begins Thursday and runs through Sunday at four complexes in Cobb and Cherokee counties — Twin Creeks Softball Complex, Hobgood Park, Al Bishop Softball Complex and Lost Mountain Park — has more than quadrupled in size since its inception.
The showcase features some of the top female high school softball players from across the country and will have as many as 175 teams from all over the southeast and beyond in attendance with squads traveling from as far as California, Colorado, Texas, Missouri, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland to compete.
With the summer travel league softball season nearing its end, the Legacy Showcase is one of the few notable events remaining leading to the Amateur Softball Association national championship tournaments which will take place at the end of the month and into early August at various locations across the country.
“We’ve grown from using one complex to needing four for the first time,” Legacy Director of Operations Charles Miller said. “We have close to 175 teams participating, including two of the top programs from California.
“There will be some really good national competition unlike our first year when it was more of a regional showcase. We’ve advertised for our event at other showcases to get our name out there and the coaches and players have been really responsive to that. We’re extremely excited to see what it’s become.”
Established by the Atlanta Vipers and Georgia Impact organizations, a key component of the Atlanta Legacy Showcase is to give up-and-coming players, as well as players currently signed with college teams, an opportunity to display their skills in front of college scouts and coaches with the hopes of landing a future scholarship.
Several coaches are registered to attend the 2012 Legacy Showcase, including 2011 national champion Arizona State coach Clinton Myers as well as an assistant coach from the University of Hawaii and coaches from schools in Texas, Ohio, New Mexico, New York, Michigan and Missouri among others.
“This event is really living up to the name ‘Legacy’,” Miller said. “Getting girls seen by national coaches is really a big deal. We have 200 coaches from all levels and divisions signed up and we anticipate having around 400 taking a look at the girls.
“It’s a big deal to get coaches west of Mississippi to come out here and we have a good number of them already registered. We think it will help girls and softball in this area payoff.”
Ten travel ball games will take place Thursday evening at Twin Creeks before the event expands to include all teams Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The squads, which have been separated into 18-and-under, 16-and-under and 14-and-under divisions, have been divided into pools of four teams. The 18U games will be held at Al Bishop and the upper five fields at Lost Mountain, while the 16U games will be at Twin Creeks and Hobgood. The 14U games will be played at the lower three fields at Lost Mountain.
Teams are expected to play what amounts to five exhibition games over the three days and no champion will be crowned.
“Each team will be matched up to play three games in their own pool,” Miller said. “The fourth game will be a matchup with a like opponent in terms of record from another pool. The winning team from that game will then play another winning team from another pool, while the loser will play a similar like opponent from loser of another pool. So, it’s win versus win or lose versus lose.
“We structured it like this so as you win, you get to play better and better competition.”
Games on Friday and Saturday will run from 8 a.m. with the final contests scheduled to start at 8:15 p.m. Sunday’s games begin at 8 a.m. and the last contests start at 1:15 p.m.
Prior to Thursday night’s games, the Legacy Showcase will administer a National Fastpitch Coaches Association camp from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Twin Creeks for players who have pre-registered.
“The camp and the showcase offers four days of exposure for our girls and gets them in front of coaches and scouts,” Miller said. “It’s really grown to be a special event and we’re really excited for the opportunities it gives them.
“This is not a money-maker for us. It’s just something to help our girls. We want it to be an enjoyable experience for everybody to attend.”