Most weekends will be much busier in Loris beginning Feb. 22 which is expected to mean a big boost to the city’s economy.
The recent improvements at the city’s recreation complex were made because the city has now partnered with Top Gun Sports USA, a company that organizes baseball tournaments.
Teams competing in the tournaments will come not only from South Carolina but also from surrounding states and even other parts of the country.
Loris will also host tournaments from USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association).
The tournaments will be for both youth baseball and softball.
Cocke said Top Gun holds both baseball and softball tournaments while USSSA holds only softball.
An umpire-training tournament for Top Gun will take place Feb. 22 and a similar tournament for USSSA will be held Feb. 29.
On March 7, a Top Gun softball tournament takes place followed by a USSSA tournament March 21.
The tournaments continue various weekends through early November. Some of the events are one-day tournaments and some will be both Saturday and Sunday.
Cocke said when Top Gun hold tournaments in Loris, that company will keep the money collected from ticket sales while the city gets to keep the money made from selling concessions.
The city also receives $150 per-field per-day, Cocke said.
To help with the extra work being generated by the tournaments, Cocke has brought in four interns from Coastal Carolina University who are working on their degree in recreation and sports.
He said the city worked with Santee Cooper and Kingston Electric to install adequate lighting at the ball fields.
He said a $7,000 donation was made to help purchase the new WI-FI scoreboards.
One very noticeable addition is a homerun wall that has been erected on baseball field one. The wall was donated by Coastal Carolina University.
It was replacing the home run wall on one of its fields.
“It is in great condition. That will be a huge factor to separate us from North Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach and everything. For 7-12 year-olds they will be excited hitting homeruns over that wall,” Cocke said.
Great for business
Cocke said he expects 500 people or more to be in town for each of the tournaments. They will all need to eat, need gas, and other supplies which will help the businesses in Loris.
“I cannot wait to go downtown on these Saturdays and see kids in uniforms in our businesses,” Cocke said.
Brandon Harrelson, the city’s building official says this is “a new level of tourism” for Loris.
“These types of things have a huge impact on our business owners and I think it is fantastic,” Harrelson said.
A brochure is being printed that will be given to guests in which businesses can advertise.