MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Spring Swing Softball Invitational is back after a two-year hiatus and bigger than ever.

“Usually we were 15-16 teams, but now we have 27 teams,” said Kyle Johnson, the head coach for Marquette Softball and the event organizer. “25 teams are in high school. Four are from Northeast Wisconsin.”

The Spring Swing gives participating teams a chance to knock off the rust while they wait for their own outdoor fields to thaw.

“The comment I hear most in coaches involved in this is that they just like to get their teams on the field, see what their players are all about, see who is going to fit in where, and see how it goes,” said Johnson.

The Superior Dome serves as a unique indoor venue that protects from the elements but brings its own challenges.

“It’s a little different when you put two softball fields on one football field,” said Johnson. “One of the things the girls will notice is a real bouncy turf. You get a lot more life off the ball when it bounces. Then, of course, the lights in some spots are a little different. It might get in their eyes a little bit. But I mean, just for the chance for these girls to get on the field and just play the game is very important. I think it’s great that these people can come out here and support these young women and watch them do something that they love.”

Games began Friday evening and will run through Sunday. Saturday competition begins at 9 am with the final game beginning at 7:30 pm. On Sunday, play begins at 8 am with the final game starting at 5 pm.

The NMU Club team will take on Lake State Sunday afternoon as a new wrinkle to the tourney.

“It brings another added dimension to have the club teams play at the college level,” said Johnson. “I think it’s beneficial for any of these girls to come and watch the next level. Whether it’s club or whether it’s varsity, as long as your watching that next age level, you’re going to see some good things from these girls.

Saturday and Sunday ticket prices are 10$ for adults. A weekend pass is 15$. Kids 12 & under get in free.

All the proceeds raised throughout the weekend will go towards supporting the Marquette Softball program.

“Our funds over the last two years have kind of dried up. The money that is raised here will go towards equipment, uniforms, field, umps, that kind of thing. Just regular everyday expenses and to get some new maybe some bats and stuff for these girls.”

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