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2019 Gulf Coast Championships (Rings Tournament)

The Gulf Coast Championships will be held this weekend at the A.J. Holloway (Biloxi) Sportsplex during June 14 – 16, 2019.  The address to the fields is 765 Wells Dr, Biloxi, MS 39532.  My dear friend, Coach Allen Marsland, passed away last week.  Coach Allen over the years coached baseball, football and, when his kids aged out, coached softball for the last 20+ years.  He was on the BGSL Board of Directors for most of that time, but he also sponsored high school girls fastpitch teams across the coast.  He was a grouchy old cuss, but had a heart of gold for his kids.  I ask everyone to say a prayer for his family during this time due to their loss.

We will look at the schedule to determine which days we will play.  Two weeks ago, we had excruciating heat.  Then rain all last week.  We’ll try to evaluate the conditions.  So why no one likes playing on Sunday, we might for the good of the players.   I normally work it that if you start on Friday, then you’ll finish on Saturday.  But if you start Saturday, then you might finish on Sunday.  So you’ll only be out there for two days; not three.

The Gulf Coast Championships reflects a more regional significance. It’s a title which signifies the importance of the Gulf Coast to USA Softball of Mississippi and the strength of fast pitch softball in the region. We do limit the participation to a teams based in South Mississippi or having played in one of our invitational tournaments.  USA Softball, as the National Governing Body of Softball, is an open organization where all teams and player are free to participate.  Even if you’ve been playing in one of the alphabet softball organizations, you’re most likely eligible to play this weekend.  So we hope everyone will come play this weekend.  This tournament, as with all of tournaments, will help raise money to support the softball programs of the tournament host.  The beneficiary this weekend will be girls of the Biloxi Girls Softball League.

We will host all age groups: Tee Ball, Coach Pitch, 10u All-Star, 10u Open, 12u All-Star, 12u Open, 14u & 16u.  We would like to keep the All-Star and Open brackets separate, but we need enough participation to keep them separate.  I’ve also had a lot of people ask if they “have” to play in the Gulf Coast Championships to play in the State Tournament. Well the short answer is no. But we’re trying to create a really special tournament. This is where we crown the Gulf Coast Champion.  We are doing rings this weekend.  I’m not big on rings because I think it promotes trophy hunting.  But this is a special tournament and they are really popular with the girls.  So we’re doing them.

One final thought, all of us adults must lower the level of animosity for each other during this events.  That includes coaches, parents, fans, spectators and yes… even umpires.  If you watch any of the NCAA Men’s baseball games on TV, you’ll notice those umpires aren’t perfect.  Most people would say a lot of them are really, really bad.  Well those folks have been college games for a long, long time… they are the best at way they do.  And they aren’t perfect.  So how do expect someone calling a “league all-star” game in Biloxi to be perfect.  Well it’s just not going to happen; we are all imperfect creatures.  We need to conduct ourselves more appropriately to provide a better example around these kids.

So a few adjustments for this weekend:
1) In fast pitch, only one coach will be allowed to sit at the edge of the dugout on defense to call pitches.  Otherwise coaches will only be permitted on the fields at the District Tournament Rules allow.
2)  Any discussions about a call will go through the umpire that made the call.. the other reason that should happen is to question a rule or request an appeal.  Coaches should “walk” to the umpire and speak in a normal tone of voice.  Running or yelling at umpire will get you a short walk to the parking lot.
3) Coaches should refrain from talking or yelling at another coach about a controversial call.  In my experience over 25+ years, there is nothing you can say to another coach to make it all better.  So just don’t do it.  All it’s going to do is make the situation worst.
4)  Fans should be fans.  They should cheer their team on.  They should refrain from derogatory comments about the other team or an official…  Sure, the normal Oooh and Ahhh is expected when we don’t agree with a call.  But name calling and berating will not be tolerated.

Please register early as it will help the tournament organizers prepare for this weekend.  It also helps bring out other teams. So please register early.

Communications will be via email. Registration will close Thursday at noon.  We have a lot of planning and activities to get ready. The brackets will be posted before Thursday at 5:00pm. I’ll email them out to first. Then I’ll post the brackets on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/USASoftballSouthMS/ and at https://usasoftballsouthms.com/.

Please do not call, email or text looking for brackets. It will just distract me from actually getting them done. If you don’t see them, I haven’t finished them yet. Please tell you parents not to call also. There are a lot more of them than there are of me. I just can’t possibly return all the phone and text messages that I’ll get.

Online registration is available using the link below:
Gulf Coast Championships Entry Form

Here’s a link to the Teams Registered page:
Gulf Coast Championships Teams Registered

You will be required to submit a roster.  For this tournament, I just need a listing of players and birthdays….. it does not have to be signed by the parents.  Please complete the roster using the link below and turn it in at the GCC check-in:
USA Softball Roster Form

USA Softball, as the National Governing Body of Softball, is an open organization that is open to all teams and players.  To be eligible to participate, all players participating must either be USA Softball Individually Registered or pay a $25 Individual Tournament Sanction/Insurance fee. Players may be registered online at USA Softball Individual Registration.   Individual Registration sanctions the player with USA Softball and provides supplemental medical / general liability protection for the players, field owners and tournament hosts.   Just so you know, to play in the State Tournament, all players must be USA Softball Individually Registered.  This is a National requirement.. so you might just want to go ahead and individually register your players.

I’ll send out information on the State Tournaments this week.  State Tournament Registration is available online at the USA Softball of Mississippi website.  I’ll put everything you need to do in one email.

Good Luck! Get out there and play!

Thanks for Playing USA Softball!