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Hastings businesses nervous for state softball tournament

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 12:14 AM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - The Nebraska School Activities Association high school softball tournament was to start up Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Smith Softball Complex. Twenty-four teams were lined up to compete in the games this week along with their supporters.

Tracy Douglas, activities director at Hastings High School and director for the state softball tournament, said, each year they estimate around 5,000 people come through Hastings to either watch or play in the tournament.

While the visitors are away from the stands, Douglas said they’re check out places around town.

“We feel like this tournament really benefits the community as a whole,” Douglas said. “A lot of people coming to town for the next three days obviously to go out to eat, stay at hotels, to shop, et cetera. So, I think it’s a huge boost for our economy.”

Owner of Murphy’s Wagon Wheel, Jamison Murphy, said they typically saw increased foot traffic from the athletic event. This year, he admitted, he was a bit concerned because the restaurant was short staffed.

“Right now, we’ve already limited our menu, that way it takes away some prep from the kitchen and then, there’s so many items to choose from instead of full menu,” Murphy said. “That way, we can get food out quicker and hopefully keep the customer satisfaction up.”

He added, he’d had to help out in the kitchen, which was something he hadn’t done in around 15 years.

Aside from the stress Murphy was seeing with his local business, he looked on the bright side of the tournaments being held in Hastings.

“It’s nice to see that out of town people still support local instead of going to the fast food places,” Murphy said.

As local businesses and the state softball organizers prepared for the coming days, Douglas said the city came together as a team.

“It’s a community, you know, effort and I think that’s why we’ve been able to hold the tournaments year after year,” Douglas said. “We have a great facility and we have just great people in the community to help us out.”

Douglas continued, on the day before the tournament began, they were making their final touches to prepare for the games.

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