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Hundreds ready to play ball in Salem

Published On: Jul 29 2013 05:08:30 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 29 2013 07:30:00 PM EDT

2013 Amateur Softball Association's 18 Under National Championships

SALEM, Va. -

You've heard of the boys of summer, well, they don't have anything on these ladies.

Like titans going to battle, the girls of the Amateur Softball Association have come to win.

Girls from 89-teams and 27-different states have descended on Southwest Virginia.
And with them, they have brought their families and plenty of money.

"My daughter and I actually went to the mall, one of the malls in the local community, and we both had a massage which was relaxing for today's game," says New Jersey mom Kathie Prohoda.

Florida mom Ginger Stellwag has a similar story, "We rented a hotel room and we're lucky enough that we have the refrigerator, microwave and we go out to eat, so we're spending plenty of money."

At this point, it's not exactly known how much this tournament will bring in, but organizers say this same tournament was here in 2001 and at that point it brought in more than a million dollars. And, that was 12-years ago.

Since that time there's been a recession and money for many families has been tight.
But, John Shaner, the Director of Parks and Recreation for the city of Salem, says this type of travel was relatively untouched and has been a good call for the region's businesses.

"A lot of our hotels or restaurants might not have made it and we've had hotelier say during the bad times the only thing that kept them alive was our sports marketing - teams coming in and spending that money, so that's a very fortunate thing for us," explains Shaner.

To give you an idea just how big this event is: there are 16-hundred student athletes, about 500 to 1000 parents and supporters and those folks are estimated to have reserved more than 6-thousand hotel rooms.

Games will be going on throughout the week.

The championships take place Sunday.