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Southside to hold softball tournament

Southside will play host to five other teams — including cross-town rival Selma — in the Lady Panthers Fastpitch Softball Tournament on Friday and Saturday at the Dallas County Softball Complex.

In addition to the local teams, Marengo, Jeff Davis, Sidney Lanier and Greensboro will join the fray. The tournament opens with pool play at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Selma opens against Greensboro and faces Lanier in a 7:30 nightcap on Field 2. Southside plays a doubleheader against Marengo (5 p.m.) and Jeff Davis (7:30 p.m.).

“It’s going to be a growing experience, and it should help with area play as well,” said Southside coach April O’Neal. “There is no one team guaranteed to win the tournament because we’re all around the same level of play.”

Single elimination play begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday with the championship game slated for noon.

Admission is $7, and a two-day pass is available for $10. With rain forecasted for the weekend, weather may play a role. If necessary, the tournament will be extended to Sunday.

“I hope everyone will love the game as much as I do and get a feel for it,” said O’Neal.

Selma coach Claire Compton sees the tournament as a big step for the development of an area fastpitch program that remains in its growing stages. She hopes Selma can play host to one next year.

“What I appreciate about Coach O’Neal is that she’s bringing a softball tournament to Selma,” said Compton. “I think it’s important to have tournaments like this so girls can see what fastpitch looks like.”