GAME DAY Youth Sports Magazine — Upstate SC - February 2012
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John Clayton

Recreation complex to be a game-changer for youth sports in Upstate, Southeast

With Tyger River Park’s Grand Opening, scheduled for March 10, still in the not-so- distant future, the new recreation complex near Reidville already has a full schedule of events through the end of the year.

Those events include college and youth softball and baseball tournaments featuring teams from around the country, but Tyger River Park Director John Luton said the complex’s doors will be open to local teams as well.

“We want to make sure local teams have opportunities to play here,” Luton said. “We’re looking for ways to make that happen.”

Tyger River Park will serve as the primary homes to Westside Boosters leagues as well as leagues from Spartanburg School District Five’s Student Activities Council.

For the Westside Athletic Booster Association, which figures to consist of around 30 baseball and six softball teams this coming season, Tyger River Park will give them a home closer to home.

“It’s going to mean the world to us,” said Westside Director Jonathan Evatt. “We don’t have our own facility. . . . We’ve been able to use Duncan Park and we’re very grateful to the City of Spartanburg, but in terms of location and drive time, our parents will be glad to have the new home.”

Luton said plans are also under way to host intra-league tournaments and invite teams from throughout Spartanburg County, regardless of affiliation, to compete.

“We want to have a county youth preseason champion come out of the tournament,” said Luton. “We should have all 12 fields of play going on at the same time and may have some games at North Spartanburg as well. We’ll start on a Friday and probably spill over into the next week.”

In addition to serving as homes to Westside and District Five programs, Luton said local teams wanting to host events at the facility will receive discounts.

Evatt said the new home will probably mean an expansion for his organization.

“We’re looking at having an ‘A’ class for our recreation teams and a ‘AA’ class for some more competitive teams,” he said. “I think this has put pressure -- needed pressure -- on us to expand our program.

“We can focus on baseball and we have a chance to really improve the quality of baseball in Spartanburg County. . . . A lot of good teams will be coming in because of this facility and we need to be able to represent Spartanburg County well. This gives us a great excuse to rally around baseball.”