SAC Tournament here to stay

Apr. 21, 2013 @ 07:49 AM

Since 2009, McNair Field has played host to the South Atlantic Conference baseball tournament. What was originally a short-term, one-year relationship, has now been extended another three years as the Forest City Owls and the SAC reached an extension agreement.

"The success of this tournament is a win-win for us and the Owls," SAC Commissioner Patrick Britz said. "We both benefit from it. As a conference we benefit because our student athletes and our fans have all commented about what a great experience it is when they come to [Forest City]. [Fans] are made to feel welcome and fell like it's a special event"

The SAC is comprised of nine church-affiliated Division ll colleges in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Forest City offers a neutral site that's easily accessible for all nine schools and their fans. Before 2009, the tournament site rotated between the schools.

"Neutral sites seem to be more of a championship feel," Britz said. "And most schools are within 3-3.5 hours. Our initial agreement was a one or two-year deal and it's gone really well especially since Jeremy [Boler] has come in. It's really something that's grown on us."

"They wanted a neutral site where they could be proud to hold their tournament and fit the travel needs of their schools and McNair fit perfectly," said Boler, general manager of the Owls.

All six teams participating in this year's tournament are shacking up in area hotels and packing local restaurants.

"All three hotels, the Quality Inn, Baymont Inn and Holiday Inn are sold out," Boler said. "It's a great economic input on the long run."

Aside from being a plus for Rutherford County, the Owls benefit from the event.

"It allows us to test new food items but more importantly it gets the ballpark used," Boler said. "Having these events and bringing tournaments like this here makes our sponsors happy."

The tournament wraps up today at McNair Field.