Back for another year of intense action on the diamond, the 2013 Annual Hope Watermelon Festival Softball Tournament will kick off Friday through Sunday.
This tournament has drawn huge crowds over the years with over 100 teams participating from around the state. All Hope sports venues will be used for games. There will be divisions of competition and no upper level team will be invited this year. USSSA or ASA bats may be used during the tournament. First, second and third place finishing teams in each division win tee-shirts and team trophy with Hope watermelons. Fourth place teams win a trophy with Hope watermelons.
Before the tournament gets underway on Thursday, the Fifth Annual Southwest Arkansas All-Star game will take place at Kelly's Field. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for Friday at 5:30 p.m. Last year featured the Annual Southwest Arkansas All-Star game consisting over 15 players on the red, black, navy blue, and royal blue teams competing at Kelly Field softball venues. Games will begin Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. and on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
The 2013 Southwest Arkansas Hall of Fame inductee class will consist of Doris Adams, Jim Bob Branch, Rusty Jones, Benny Phillips, Sidney Ross, Victor Tuatagaloa, Mike Adams, Glenn Collums, Mike Green, Cliff Knowles, Bill Otis, Lynn Rook, John Triplet and Michael Witherspoon.
Also, the 2013 players of the year include: Class C Darrin Ashbrooks, Class D – Jeff White, Class E – Walter McGill and Overall Player of the Year – Brian Glass. All will be recognized during the ceremony.
The SWA Softball Hall of Fame President is Robbie “Rebel” Franks; Vice President is Jeff Baker, and committee members are Brian Glass, Dionne Hopson, Ricky Sooter, Stan Nix, Marty Porter and John-Michael Hunter.
At the conclusion of the SWA Hall of Fame and All-Star games, the softball tournament will get underway. Friday games will begin at 8 p.m., with the last game scheduled at midnight. Saturday games are set to begin at 8 a.m. and will conclude Sunday evening.
Last year's Watermelon Festival softball tourney winners included Two Homerun Division – Walker Timber; Seven Homerun Division – Miken Mafia/ASP Nation; and, Women's Open Division - Bryant Express.