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Fast Pitch Tourney returns for 47th year

AU SABLE FORKS - The 47th annual Au Sable Forks Men's Fast Pitch Softball Tournament will take place July 10-12, bringing hundreds of people to the town for a fun-filled weekend.

The tournament features 10 teams from the U.S. and Canada in a round-robin bracket. Two separate fields at Billy Mitchell Field in Au Sable Forks act as the venue for the games.

"Some of the best teams in the world are going to be here," said tournament spokesperson Randy Douglas. "As far as competition, it's probably the highest caliber of teams we've had since restarting the tournament for its 40th year."

Festivities begin Friday at 5 p.m. with a Pee Wee softball game between the Jay/Black Brook Patriots and the Peru Yankees. At 7 p.m. the American Legion Post #504 Color Guard will present the flags as Michaela Bushey and Susan Richards sing the national anthems of both Canada and the United States, respectively.

The competition kicks off with a 7 p.m. game between the Quyon Combat Flyers of Ottowa, Ontario and North Line Utilities of Au Sable Forks. At 9 p.m. another Au Sable Forks team, Gordon Oil, will face the Mountain Brook Lodge/Ottowa Blitz combined team.

Games resume on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. and continue through the afternoon and evening. Round-robin play continues Sunday morning with playoffs in the afternoon.

Tournament organizers are expecting the tournament to be well-attended.

"Each year it has a huge economic impact; not only here in Au Sable Forks, but in Wilimington, Lake Placid, and Keeseville," he said, noting that the hundreds of visiting athletes and spectators patronize local merchants, lodging, and camping sites.

Past tournaments have donated proceeds to families of individuals who had conditions such as ALS or Cystic Fibrosis. This year's tournament will benefit a group of area residents who have recently been diagnosed with similar devastating diseases.

"We've been very successful in the past few years raising funds for families in need in our community," said Douglas. "We're going to continue to do that as long as we have a successful weekend."

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