Softball is about to sweep over East Tennessee.
Youth softball teams from all over the country gathered Sunday at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge for the opening ceremonies of the SEAA Fast Pitch World Series.
The World Series runs from Monday, June 17 to Sunday, June 23.
More than 2,000 people - players, coaches, and family - got discounts to local attractions at the operning ceremonies. Players got to trade pins and gifts with one another.
More than 100 teams spanning the 10U, 12U, 14U and 16U age brackets will play in the tournament. 20 teams come from Tennessee. Alabama also boasts 20 teams in the tournament. Other teams come from as far south as Florida and Louisiana, and as far north as Illinois and Wisconsin.
Players said the tournament excites them for a lot of reasons.
"You never really meet anybody from all over the world," 14-year-old Mia Pumila of New Orleans said. "So this is your chance to become friends and talk to new people."
During the week of events, teams will get at least one day of rest. Pigeon Forge will offer plenty of adventure for them.
"I'm going to go to Dollywood," Brookelyn Keith of Mobile, Alabama said. "I'll ride all the roller coasters."
Knoxville-based Crossfire '07 is excited to compete in the tournament that's close to home after finishing in fourth place in their age group last year.
"We're going to have to play the hardest we've ever played before," catcher Emma Mayes said. "And do our best, have confidence in ourselves."
Games will take place at the Wear Farm Sports Complex in Pigeon Forge. First pitch is Monday at 8 a.m. You can find a link to pool play at the Sporting Events Association of America website here and here.
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