Columbus is the place to be for sports this weekend

This is what it is all about for the Columbus Sports Council.

“We’re bringing entertainment to town for local people to enjoy,” said event coordinator Lori Icenhour. “We are putting people in Columbus hotel rooms and restaurants.”

This is a dream week for council members as four sporting events are taking place in town, bringing athletes, coaches, friends and families here.

Beginning this morning, softball teams from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which features schools such as Tuskegee, Morehouse, Albany State and Fort Valley State, will compete in their conference tournament at the South Commons Sports Complex.

The past three years, the tournament, which features 12 teams, was played in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Admission is free.

Also at the South Commons complex Saturday and Sunday, the Black Softball Circuit will bring approximately 100 travel softball teams from around the country for its Southeast Shootout.

There will be plenty of softball and music — and it’s all free.

“The scheduling has been done so the two tournaments won’t affect each other,” said Icenhour.

The Youth Basketball of America tournament will feature more than 100 basketball teams consisting of boys ages 15-17.

“These are good athletes,” said Georgia director William Fox. “The YBOA is just like the AAU, but they’re bigger. AAU is like Coke, and we’re like Pepsi, but we’re really big in Georgia.”

The Columbus Parks and Recreation Department is a partner in the basketball tournament. The event will be Friday through Sunday in seven gyms: Hardaway High, Columbus State University and the Northside, Psalmond Road, Frank Chester, Comer and Shirley Winston recreation centers. Adult tickets are $4 on Friday and $5 on Saturday and Sunday.

“We run a lot of basketball tournaments, and Columbus is the best place to be,” said Fox.

Friday through Sunday at Golden Park, Grand Slam Sports will play its Elite Baseball Series “Battle By the River” for 14-and-under teams.

Eight teams will compete. Daily adult tickets are $6. Children ages 13-17 pay $3. Children younger than 12 get in free.

“It’s really exciting,” said Icenhour. “We’re working to bring as many events as we can here. We’re getting the word out that Columbus is the place to be.”

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