On Friday afternoon, the Troy Sportsplex was packed with people attending the opening ceremony of the Dixie Youth AA 8-and-under Coach Pitch State Tournament.

Troy Mayor Jason Reeves was on hand to cast the ceremonial first pitch, saying the crowd may have been the largest he has ever seen at the opening of a state tournament.

“We are very honored to have been selected to host this tournament,” said Reeves before throwing the pitch. “When I see the names of the parishes on the shirts here, I can tell that we played baseball in those parishes. And now these churches have come here to play baseball. “

Reeves went on to beg the crowd to enjoy themselves in Troy and hopefully come back in the future to visit Troy again.

But Reeves also said the tournament was about a lot more than just baseball.

“That can be huge for the economy,” Reeves said. “If you look at the number of people here, many will stay here, eat here and shop here. We have 25 teams in this tournament and parents, grandparents, relatives and siblings come to see them play.

“This tournament allows people to see our community. Not only does it help the economy when people stay and shop, it’s also the notoriety we get from the tournament. The people who come here will see more of our community and maybe learn something about us that they didn’t know. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to impress people from all over the country. “

Dixie Youth State Director Charley Bell said hosting a tournament is a competitive process. He said Dixie Youth typically has three to four cities competing to host each tournament. He said the facilities played an important role in the final decision on which city would win the tournament bid.

“[Troy Parks and Recreation Director] Dan Smith and his staff are working very hard with state and national organizations to host these tournaments, ”said Reeves. “We try to host one of these tournaments every few years. Dan always has a needs list and wish list for the Leisure Department, and we look at this list every year. We are constantly trying to improve our parks and our services. “

Smith said this tournament would have a huge impact on the economy.

“For a tournament this size, and I guess a super regional we did a few years ago would be about $ 200,000 for 25 teams. This is one of the biggest tournaments I can remember. I know that the hotels, restaurants and shops in the area will benefit from the influx of so many people. “

Bell said one of the reasons tournament tenders are so competitive is because of the economic impact.

Smith’s estimate was based on the direct impact on the tournament.

However, Bell said the tournaments also have an indirect impact on the economy. He said the money spent during the tournament will stay with the community and the long-term impact could increase to around $ 1.5 million for a tournament of this size.