Spartanburg will host 94 extraordinary softball teams from across the country for the 2019 USA Softball Junior Olympic (JO) Cup, taking place July 21-27 at Tyger River Park. The tournament is expected to draw thousands of attendees.
The USA Softball JO Cup serves as an opportunity for evaluation by the USA Softball coaching staff and the Women’s National Team Selection Committee (WNTSC). You can follow this year’s tournament live on www.flosoftball.com/live/ and at www.teamusa.org/USA-Softball.
“It’s important to get the best teams at the same complex playing each other and that’s what it’s all about,” said St. Louis Chaos Head Coach, Evan Beatty. “Great coaches, great teams, and that’s what we wanted to be part of.”
The inaugural USA Softball JO Cup began in 2015 and featured 32 teams in the 18-under division and has grown to include a 16-under division the past two years (2016, 2017) and 14-under division for the first time this past year (2018). There will be a total number of 96 teams split across three separate age divisions. The USA Softball JO Cup features a five-game guarantee, three pool play games and a double-elimination bracket into a single Championship Game. A blind-draw will be conducted for bracket play with protection given to the first and second-place finishers from the 2018 USA Softball JO Cup.
“The 2018 USA Softball JO Cup was not only one of the best run tournaments we have attended over the last five years, it was a very competitive field,” said Panthers Fastpitch Head Coach, Jeff Stevens. “USA Softball’s continued commitment to invite the best competition will allow this tournament to continue its rise up in tournament options!”
Tyger River Park is Spartanburg County’s premier park, containing 13 youth baseball/softball fields, a clubhouse, and a large playground. The facility was built to attract youth sports tournaments, a role that it has played well. The park also hosts baseball and softball recreational leagues. As covered in the capital projects section, Tyger River Park was enhanced in 2014 with a perimeter exercise trail, picnic shelters, new restrooms, a splash pad, disc golf, and other amenities. The park most recently held the 2018 USA Softball Girls’ Class A 12-Under National Championship and was named the 2015 USA Softball Complex of the Year.
“We are thrilled that Spartanburg has been selected to host the 2019 USA Softball Junior Olympic Cup,” said Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Sports Tourism Sales Director, Kristyn Hawkins. “It is a testament to our county’s growing sports tourism assets. Players and families will be welcomed by state-of-the-art facilities, freshly renovated hotels and unique local restaurants.”
“We expect our hotels to see increased traffic from USA Softball’s presence,” Kristyn Hawkins, Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau sports tourism sales director, said in a release. “Coaches, players and their families will stay at local hotels, eat at local restaurants and visit local attractions, furthering the growing economic impact of sports tourism in Spartanburg County.”
In the first year with three different age divisions, Fury Platinum (14U), Panthers (16U) and St. Louis Chaos (18U) took home their respective JO Cup titles, with all games decided by two runs or less. USA Softball crowned a pair of champions at the 2017 Junior Olympic (JO) Cup following two close championship games Saturday, July 29. The Louisville Lady Sluggers captured the 18-under title defeating the Williamsburg Starz, 3-0, while Michigan Finesse took home the 16-under title in walk-off fashion, 3-2, against the Gametime Stars. In 2016, the Atlanta Vipers were able to capture the inaugural 16-under Championship with a 7-0 win over Victory USA, while a late-inning rally helped the East Cobb Bullets – Schnute nab a 6-2 win over the Gold Coast Hurricanes for the 18-under title. In 2015, the Wichita Mustangs nabbed the inaugural title after defeating the East Cobb Bullets 4-0 in the Championship Game.
Visit www.teamusa.org for additional information.