Lipscomb athletics is pleased to announce that the Lady Bisons softball team will host the 2013 and 2014 Atlantic Sun Softball Tournaments.
The conference office announced Thursday that Lipscomb had been awarded the bid, which Lipscomb athletics director Philip Hutcheson presented during the conference spring meetings, held earlier this month. All games will be played at Draper Diamond.
Hutcheson listed a number of factors that led to Lipscomb earning the bid for the next two seasons.
“Number one, I think the city of Nashville itself was a big selling point,” Hutcheson said. “The city has hosted a number of conference and NCAA tournaments over the years and has proven to be a destination city for tournaments. Nashville is an appealing place for student-athlete and fan tournament experiences.
“I also pointed out that while we aren’t happy about it, we have hosted tournaments in the past but not been in the tournament. We’ve proven that no matter what, we’ll do a good job when we host a tournament.”
Lady Bisons head coach Kristin Ryman is excited to host the program’s first-ever conference tournament.
“It’s a big commitment,” Ryman said. “Like the other events we’ve hosted, we want to do it correctly. Our administration is committed to that and the other tournaments I’ve been to on our campus have been run just as well as any softball tournament we’ve been to.
“I feel really confident that we will run a really good tournament. It will be a really unique opportunity to have that kind of event on our campus.”
Hutcheson echoed her sentiments.
“Lipscomb has proven itself to do a great job hosting tournaments,” Hutcheson said. “A lot of the people that will be involved are the same people who have been involved in our other tournaments so there’s a lot of trust involved.”
In May, the Lady Bisons were eliminated from the 2012 A-Sun Tournament hosted by USC Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C. The 2010 conference tournament champions will seek a return to those heights on their home field next season.
“It’s exciting,” Ryman said. “It’s exciting from a recruiting stand point that we have a facility that can handle that type of event and it says something about our university. It’s neat for our girls to be able to play on campus and sleep in their own beds every night.
“It’s a competitive conference, so we certainly have to do our part. That’s the first step in that process. I feel like we have good quality players coming back and a good class coming in so it’s just a matter of continuing to do what we’ve been doing and let the rest take care of itself.”
Hutcheson added that the National Pro Fastpitch league (NPF) wrote a letter of recommendation for the bid. The NPF’s Tennessee Diamonds played their 2010 season at Draper Diamond.
“Cheri Kempf, the commissioner of the league, spoke very highly of us in her recommendation,” Hutcheson said. “I made the point that some of the greatest softball players in the world played at our facility and the commissioner of the league said it was a great experience and they would do it again. That was a big plus for us.”
New bleachers are scheduled to be installed in the coming weeks that will seat up to 500 fans at Draper Diamond.
“We are hoping to start pouring the concrete pad to install the new bleachers in the next few weeks,” Hutcheson said. “Right now, we’re on target to have everything installed before the beginning of fall season.”
Andy Lane, Lipscomb Associate Athletic Director of Development, will be the tournament director. He sees the tournament benefiting not only the school but the surrounding area as well.
“It’s exciting for the school,” Lane said. “We’re always excited anytime we have the opportunity to host other schools on our campus. We want to showcase the university and Nashville and provide a great experience for the young ladies who will play here.”
“We continually get compliments that we host some of the best tournaments the conference has ever held. It’s not just the facilities and Nashville, but most importantly it’s the people. Our workers and volunteers are some of the best around.”