Fastpitch softball players from across the northeast converged on Fastpitch Nation, a large softball complex in Windsor, for a week-long tournament known as the 2022 PlayFPN Summer Nationals.
“Fastpitch softball is a super popular game for girls. People see it on ESPN with the college girls playing. Those girls come from somewhere and here’s where they start. So I would say that is the most important thing. These girls love to play,” said David Rocha, the owner and general manager of Fastpitch Nation Park in Windsor.
It’s the largest tournament to date in Windsor with more than 1,000 players on 77 teams from Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.
The tournament is expected to generate $2.3 million for the Greater Hartford area, according to the president of the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau.
Just having a place to sleep for all the players and their families means more than 2,500 hotel rooms were booked.
“We’re using more than 20 hotels just in the area here, plus all the restaurants and gas stations and all the other attractions people are going to. So it’s a massive impact for people in the region,” said Rocha.
Wally Antosiewicz attended with his daughter Sofia, number 32 playing for the Gems from Pennsylvania.
“I haven’t been here in the past. I think it’s a great complex. I think the tournament is run very well. It’s fun. The kids are having a blast,” said Antosiewicz.
Judy Garcia also attended, supporting her daughter, Analia.
“This is awesome. It’s exciting. You cheer for them,” said Garcia, who lives in New Britain and said she feels fortunate the tournament is nearby and she didn’t have to pay to travel.
“It’s not far so we can do it in one day, not like all the families who have to travel, they have to stay in hotels and the gas, they have to eat, it’s not easy,” said Garcia.
The families we spoke with said they’re having a blast watching their kids compete and explore the area.
“Everybody’s been going to dinner. The kids are going bowling tonight, laser tag,” said Antosiewicz.
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