MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Spring Swing Softball Tournament is back at the Superior Dome in Marquette for another action packed weekend. With 29 high school and college club teams participating in this year’s tournament, the Spring Swing is bigger and better than ever.
“It’s all about these girls and playing the sport that they’re passionate about and love,” said Johnson. “It’s about getting them out on the field early in the season. It gives them the opportunity, for one their is like four feet of snow outside, they get to get out on the field with real balls, really fly balls. It’s a little bit different playing on a football field turf, but it gets them out there to play.”
The Spring Swing not only gives players an opportunity to knock off the rust, but it gives coaches a chance to evaluate their rosters prior to the official start of the season.
“That’s the one thing I hear the most from the coaches is why they come here,” said Johnson. “It’s to get their girls out on the field to see what they got and to see what these girls can do in a real pitching situation. Not stuck in some gym somewhere hitting softies, you know, they can actually see how they play out on the field, right? Who’s going to do this and who’s going to do that. That’s one of the things that the coaches look forward to because it gives them a little bit of a jump as soon as the regular season starts.
With the weather still not cooperating early in the spring, the Superior Dome acts as a unique softball venue that is void of any elements.
“It’s a very different environment playing on the turf,” said Johnson. “I always tell my outfielders that if the ball is going to land in front of you then back up because the ball goes almost as high back up as it was in the first place. It’s very different of course with the lights. It’s not the same as being out on the field, but you can still get that feel of playing. You can field some nice ground balls and you don’t have to worry about hitting a rock or anything.”
The Spring Swing is the lone fundraiser for the Marquette Softball team.
“Admission is five dollars for Friday, 10$ for Saturday, 10$ for Sunday,” said Johnson. “You can get a weekend pass for 15$. All kids 8 and under are free and then also we’re encouraging girls that are playing softball who are 14 years old and under to come in while wearing their jerseys from travel ball or little league and they can get in free too. So, this provides our team with new equipment and pays the bills for us.”
While the play of the turf will be the main attraction, there is plenty for everyone to enjoy.
“As you come in you have NMU’s concession stand,” said Johnson. “We have ‘Stamp Cats’ who are doing swag, hoodies and stuff like that. We also have giveaways. We’re giving away Marquette Softball apparel and other T-shirts. We also have softball bingo for the fans to play. They get a card then go watch a game in the stands and when something happens you check it off and get a ‘bingo’. At the end of the game you can turn in that card and then we’ll draw for a prize at the end of that game. So, we have fun things happening for just about everyone across the board.”
The Spring Swing tournament runs through Sunday.
FRIDAY: 3pm -10:30pm
SATURDAY: 9am -10:30pm
SUNDAY: 8am – 5pm
(All times eastern)