JONESBORO — The Mountain Dew Grand Slam Classic youth softball tournament reaches another milestone with this year’s 40th annual event at Southside Softball Complex.
Sixty-eight teams in eight divisions, ranging in age from 8-and-under to 16-18, will compete this weekend. Championship games in five divisions are scheduled for Sunday afternoon, with the other three wrapping up late Saturday night.
Tournament director Karla Marroquin, who is the softball program coordinator for the city of Jonesboro, said the tournament has changed considerably since she played in it.
“We used to have a lot of league teams playing, in-town teams,” she said. “A majority of teams are from out of town. We have teams from Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri coming to play this weekend.”
Marroquin said 50 of the 68 teams are coming from out of town to play in the tournament. That list includes 12 out-of-state teams.
“I know one hotel is already fully booked. We found that out because we were trying to find rooms for umpires there,” Marroquin said. “A lot of hotels are going to be having rooms booked because even with 12 out-of-state teams, we have a good chunk that are from out of town.”
The tournament returns to a traditional June weekend slot after being pushed back to August last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Marroquin said 59 teams participated in the 2020 tournament.
The tournament is operated by the city. Marroquin said the Mountain Dew Classic is the final youth tournament of the spring season at Southside Softball Complex, with play picking up again in August with the Back to School Bash.