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City, AWC to host junior college softball championship

Arizona Western College and the City of Yuma will host the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Softball Championship in Yuma in May 2021 and May 2022, the NJCAA announced on Wednesday.

AWC, the City, and partners Caballeros de Yuma, Visit Yuma, and Yuma International Airport introduced the NJCAA’s announcement at a media event on Wednesday.

The joint bid will bring 16 teams from across the country, including a district representative from Arizona, to the Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex for games to be played May 26-29 in 2021 and May 25-28 in 2022.

“We are excited to team up with AWC to host the NJCAA national softball championship at the Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex. This first national championship event in the PAAC will build upon the sports tourism history of Yuma,” said Mayor Douglas Nicholls. “AWC, the Caballeros, Visit Yuma, and the Airport are great partners and will provide Yuma’s robust hospitality for visiting teams, residents and guests alike.”

“Quality facilities like the PAAC enable Yuma to attract national and regional events,” said City Administrator Philip Rodriguez. “Athletic tournaments generate direct local spending, which supports our hotels, restaurants and other businesses. This is a great win for the community.”

“We have gotten tremendous feedback from the national amateur softball tournaments we’ve held here in the past, and this event raises the bar,” said Deputy City Administrator Jay Simonton, the interim director of Parks and Recreation. “A whole other group of players, fans and softball enthusiasts will get to experience our state-of-the-art softball complex.”

“This is a tremendous honor for Arizona Western,” AWC Athletic Director Jerry Smith said. “We are excited to partner with the City and showcase Yuma to the entire country.”

The national championship tournament will lean on the collaborative event planning that brought the El Toro Bowl to Yuma and annually creates the Great Western Shootout-Softball Tournament, while partnering with the expertise of city officials, the City of Yuma Parks and Recreation department and other city staff, as well as other community partners.

AWC President Daniel Corr and the college cabinet team have expressed their dedication to the event along with offering the support of various departments across the district to make the event a success.

Caballeros de Yuma will provide a welcome BBQ to the players and coaches prior to a home run derby competition featuring one player from each of the 16 participating teams.

Visit Yuma is helping teams, fans, and visitors to experience all that Yuma has to offer during their trip with sightseeing tips and welcome bags, along with lodging assistance.

Teams will have the accessibility to fly directly into Yuma International Airport located just four miles away from the Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex.

The City will ensure numerous fields are available for team practices.