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May 3, 2014

‘The right choice’: DII softball teams enjoying Cullman tournament venue

As Amber Adcock rounded the bases at Heritage Park after hitting a walk-off home run to defeat Valdosta State in the Gulf South Conference softball tournament, she remembered her coach Casey Charles’ promise to treat the Delta State softball team to a steak dinner if they defeated their opponent.

“I asked coach,” Adcock said afterwards, “and she told me ‘no budget.’”

The Lady Statesmen piled onto the teambus headed for Logan’s Roadhouse in Cullman, one of a number of local restaurants that has enjoyed a boost in its turnout as the NCAA Division II Gulf South Conference Softball Championship Tournament has been hosted at Heritage Park this weekend.

Players from teams throughout the southeast spoke highly of the atmosphere in Cullman.

Nate Salant, commissioner of the Gulf South Conference, said Heritage Park had been a “terrific facility.”

On coming to Cullman, Salant said, “Cullman has a reputation for friendly people, and that has clearly been proven to be the case.”

Salant cited the fact that Cullman is a central location to the Conference’s teams. He added that several coaches had previously scouted at Heritage Park, and spoke highly of the facilities.

The tournament “has definitely had the desired economic impact,” Salant said. “And we’ve delivered great softball.”

Anna Talbot is the athletic trainer for the University of North Alabama Lions softball team, which faced UA-Huntsville on Friday. Talbot said that a personal highlight had been attending a Miracle League softball game at the Field of Miracles Thursday night.

She said she enjoyed having the chance to see “girls [with special needs] interact with our players.”

Cullman’s parks department won the United States Specialty Sports Association’s (USSSA) facility of the year award in 2013.

Delta State coach Casey Charles said that the facilities at Heritage Park had been especially good.

“The park’s great,” Charles said. “We really appreciate all Cullman has done for us.”

“It’s where everyone wanted to go,” Commissioner Salant said, “and it’s proven to be the right choice.”

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