0521 Dothan diamond classic photo

Coaches (front row) from some of the 16 teams that competed in the inaugural Dothan Diamond Classic softball tournament were presented checks on Monday morning at the Dothan Civic Center and are shown with officials and sponsors of the event.

The inaugural Dothan Diamond Classic softball tournament was an indisputable success on the field as fans flocked to the Westgate Softball Complex to watch the 16-team tournament.

On Monday, the teams reaped monetary benefits when checks were distributed to the participating schools.

A total of $38,688 was dispersed among the schools, all from the Wiregrass, from proceeds raised during the tournament that was held in April. The money was divided by the number of games each team played.

The top four teams – champion Northview, Wicksburg, Geneva and Dale County – each received a check for $4,836. The next four teams – Dothan, G.W. Long, Providence Christian and Rehobeth – each received a check for $2,418.

The other eight teams – Ariton, Ashford, Cottonwood, Enterprise, Geneva County, Houston Academy, Headland and Slocomb – received a check for $1,209.

“I’m extremely happy with it, but I want it to get bigger and better, too,” tournament director Rhonda Kirk said. “I know that sounds greedy, but that’s our goal – to keep growing and get more folks involved.”

Kirk said the committee had an original goal of raising $40,000 for the four-day tournament.

“We kind of backed off of that because we weren’t real sure about sponsorships, which was kind of slow when we started,” Kirk explained. “But when I started sending out thank you notes, we sent out over 100 thank you notes to food vendors and sponsors. It was just absolutely wonderful how the community got behind this and supported us.”

Besides four days of tournament action, there was a home run derby contest named after former Dothan High, Auburn University and Team USA standout Kasey Cooper and a clinic put on by former Florida State star and current pro player Jessica Burroughs.

Kirk said she is already working on getting ready for next year.

“We’re going to do something like that again next year,” Kirk said. “Jessica wants to come back and she wants to bring (current FSU pitcher) Meghan King with her.”

Follow Jon Johnson on Twitter @eaglesportsed

I've been sports editor of the Dothan Eagle since 1988.

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