The Atlanta Legacy Showcase, which begins today and runs through Sunday at four complexes in Cobb and Cherokee counties — Twin Creeks, Hobgood Park, Al Bishop Softball Complex and Lost Mountain Park — has more than quadrupled in size since its inception.
The showcase features some of the top high school players from across the country and will have as many as 175 teams from all over the Southeast — and beyond — in attendance. Squads are traveling from as far as California, Colorado, Texas, Missouri, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland to compete.
With the summer softball seasons nearing their end, the Atlanta Legacy Showcase is one of the few notable events remaining prior to the Amateur Softball Association national tournaments taking place at the end of the month and into early August.
“We’ve grown from using one complex to needing four for the first time,” said Charles Miller, the tournament’s director of operations. “We have close to 175 teams participating, including two of the top programs from California.
“There will be some really good national competition, unlike our first year when it was more of a regional showcase. We’ve advertised for our event at other showcases to get our name out there and the coaches and players have been really responsive to that. We’re extremely excited to see what it’s become.”
Established by the Atlanta Vipers and Georgia Impact organizations, a key component of the Atlanta Legacy Showcase is to give up-and-coming players — as well as players already committed to college teams — an opportunity to display their skills in front of college scouts and coaches with the hopes of landing a future scholarship.
Coaches from across the country have registered to attend this week’s showcase, including Clinton Myers, the coach of 2011 Women’s College World Series champion Arizona State.
“This event is really living up to the name ‘Legacy,’” Miller said. “Getting girls seen by national coaches is really a big deal. We have 200 coaches from all levels and divisions signed up and we anticipate having around 400 taking a look at the girls.
“It’s a big deal to get coaches west of Mississippi to come out here, and we have a good number of them already registered. We think it will help girls and softball in this area payoff.”
Ten travel-ball games will take place this evening at Twin Creeks before the event expands to include all teams Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The squads, which have been separated into 18-and-under, 16-and-under and 14-and-under divisions, have been divided into pools of four teams. The 18U games will be held at Al Bishop and Lost Mountain, while the 16U games will be at Twin Creeks and Hobgood. The 14U games will be played at Lost Mountain.
Teams are expected to play what amounts to five exhibition games over the three days, with no champion crowned.
“Each team will be matched up to play three games in their own pool,” Miller said. “The fourth game will be a matchup with a like opponent in terms of record from another pool. The winning team from that game will then play another winning team from another pool, while the loser will play a similar opponent from the loser of another pool. So, it’s win-vs.-win or lose-vs.-lose.
“We structured it like this so, as you win, you get to play better and better competition.”
Games on Friday and Saturday will begin at 8 a.m., with the final contests scheduled to start at 8:15 p.m. Sunday’s games begin at 8 a.m., and the last contests start at 1:15 p.m.
Before tonight’s games, the Legacy Showcase will administer a National Fastpitch Coaches Association camp from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at Twin Creeks for players who have pre-registered.
“The camp and the showcase offers four days of exposure for our girls and gets them in front of coaches and scouts,” Miller said. “It’s really grown to be a special event and we’re really excited for the opportunities it gives them.
“This is not a money-maker for us. It’s just something to help our girls. We want it to be an enjoyable experience for everybody to attend.”