Sports tourism springs forward with longstanding events and facility updates

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism
Posted 3/5/18

Sports tourism starts with local athletics, and in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, student-athletes play on the same fields that teams from all over the country experience for major tournaments. As spring sports kick off, one longtime local tournament series – the Gulf Coast Classic – showcases the destination and exceptional facilities to high school baseball and softball teams from ...

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Sports tourism springs forward with longstanding events and facility updates

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GULF SHORES AND ORANGE BEACH, ALA. – Sports tourism starts with local athletics, and in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, student-athletes play on the same fields that teams from all over the country experience for major tournaments. As spring sports kick off, one longtime local tournament series – the Gulf Coast Classic – showcases the destination and exceptional facilities to high school baseball and softball teams from multiple states.

In 2001, former Gulf Shores High School baseball coach Donnie Spohn started the Gulf Coast Classic with five teams. Now, the series accounts for five spring tournaments which host approximately 195 teams representing eight states combined.

“Of all the things I did at Gulf Shores High School, the Gulf Coast Classic is what I’m most proud of,” said Spohn. “It’s not all about baseball or softball. Many players from outside the area are able to experience the beach for the first time, and many families are able to travel with their kids when they may not otherwise visit our area.”

The 2018 tournament series includes the following weekend tournaments:

March 12-14: Gulf Coast Classic I Softball Tournament

March 19-21: Gulf Coast Classic II Softball Tournament

March 19-22: Gulf Coast Classic I Baseball Tournament

March 26-28: Gulf Coast Classic III Softball Tournament

March 26-29: Gulf Coast Classic II Baseball Tournament

Other major sports events from March through May include the AISA Outdoor Track & Field State Championship (April 12-13), Alabama Tennis Invitational (April 26-29), AHSAA State Track Championship 4-7A (May 3-5), National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship (May 4-6), AHSAA Regional Softball Championship (May 10-12) and the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championship (May 24-26).

Meanwhile, the Orange Beach Sportsplex is getting a facelift with phase one of its capital improvement plan complete and phase two beginning later in 2018. Fields one through five now have new pro-style brick backstops with netting, dugouts, score pavilions and bleacher shades. Additionally, two sand volleyball courts have been added. The new courts will allow the city to offer a recreational sand volleyball league, giving the destination another way to grow the sport of beach volleyball.

For information on upcoming athletic events along Alabama’s Gulf Coast, visit GulfShores.com/Sports, or call 1-800-745-SAND.

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission Spring Schedule:

March 3-10: Spring Track & Field Training (collegiate)

March 4-10: Albion Track & Field

March 7-10: 49th Annual Bratton Brothers Invitational Golf

March 10: South USA Grappling Alabama State Championship

March 10: Century Doubles Tennis Tournament

March 10-11: Snap Soccer Shootout (boys)

March 10-17: Spring Track & Field Training (collegiate)

March 12-14: Gulf Coast Classic I Softball Tournament

March 17: Spirit Brands Orange Beach Nationals

March 17-24: Spring Track & Field Meet

March 19-21: Gulf Coast Classic II Softball Tournament

March 19-22: Gulf Coast Classic I Baseball Tournament

March 24: Flora-Bama Beach Run Walk for America's Warriors 5K & 1/2 Marathon

March 24-25: USSSA Global Sports Baseball 300 Point Qualifier

March 26-28: Gulf Coast Classic III Softball Tournament

March 26-29: Gulf Coast Classic II Baseball Tournament

March 31-April 7: Reeths-Puffer High School Softball Spring Training

March 31-April 7: High School Softball Spring Break Training

April 7-8: WSA Cheer Beach Nationals

April 7-8: Perfect Game Baseball Orange Beach Bash

April 7-8: UTR Spring Tennis Tournament Orange Beach

April 12-13: AISA Outdoor Track & Field State Championship

April 13-14: Gulf Shores High School Tennis Tournament

April 14: Zydeco & Crawfish Festival 5K Run

April 21: 22nd Annual Mullet Man Triathlon

April 21-22: USSSA Global Baseball Border Wars State Championship

April 25: Flora-Bama's Mullet Swing Golf Tournament

April 26-29: Alabama Tennis Invitational

April 27-28: Pleasure Island Showdown Softball Tournament

April 28: “Beach Classic” National Beach Tour Regional Qualifier

May 3-5: AHSAA State Track Championship (4-7A, boys and girls)

May 4-6: National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship

May 5-6: Gulf Coast Region “BeachFest” – National Beach Tour National Qualifier

May 10-12: AHSAA Regional Softball Championship

May 12: Battle at the Beach Open Karate Tournament

May 12: Good Life Ride

May 12-13: Hurricane Taekwondo Championships

May 24-26: NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championship

May 25-27: 10th Annual Youth Basketball of America Gulf Coast Challenge

May 26-27: USSSA Global Sports Baseball 300 Point Battle at the Beach

May 27: Paradise Island 5K

May 31-June 6: Perfect Game Baseball Orange Beach/Gulf Shores

About Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission:

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission is a partnership between Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism (GSOBT), the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber and the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. In 2007, this commission became a department within GSOBT.

In this role, the commission – along with assistance from both cities – works to bring quality sporting events to Alabama’s Gulf Coast. To learn more about a whole different state of play, please visit GulfShores.com/Sports. See Related Link.