Last updated: February 07. 2014 10:09AM - 422 Views

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Bummer weekend coming up.

Durant has just lost out on a bunch of out-of-town dollars that would have come in handy.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Southeastern Regional Invitational softball tournament has been canceled and that means players, coaches and fans from 17 other teams will not be dropping dollars in local coffers.

The weather forecast is the major culprit in the cancellation, of course, and nobody can control the weather.

Another part of the problem is the condition of the playing fields at Durant’s Multi-Sports Complex.

Coach Ron Faubion’s LadyStorm softballers were in San Antonio last weekend for the St. Mary’s tournament. The Southeastern Regional Invitational was a major topic of conversation. Unfortunately, it was not favorable.

Teams having to travel many miles are no longer willing to make the trip since our playing fields are not covered or maintained.

The Multi-Sports Complex is a grand achievement for Durant, but the reality is that we have not done a good job in the area of maintenance. It’s that simple, really.

The first Lone Star Conference softball tournament Durant hosted was by far the finest I have ever seen. The city was front and center and there were more volunteers than things for them to do.

That tournament could have been a blueprint for other towns wanting to find out how to host to host a tournament.

Every game was played and I don’t recall that happening too often.

Yes, it’s the weather. There’s little anyone can do if it is raining at game time.

We had rain and cold and wind at San Antonio last weekend. Southeastern was scheduled to play six games and played five after a delay and schedule-changing. That’s a heck of a batting average when you consider someone in charge thinks February 1 is a great time for outdoor sports.

A coach from way down south in Texas said he couldn’t justify bringing his team all the way to Durant since he was aware of the field conditions and no tarps. Travel isn’t cheap. Traveling and not getting to play is not acceptable.

Teams from up north, back east and out west feel the same way. The coaches have to be accountable to their respective athletics directors. Some chances simply aren’t worth taking.

Durant has proven it is capable of hosting an absolute first-class softball tournament. We must decide if that is really what we want.

The Complex was sold to voters partially on the fact that we wanted to bring really big tournaments to town. We did that. At one time, Southeastern brought in the largest NCAA Division II softball tournament in the nation.

It is still within our power to host major sporting events if we so choose. And choosing is what we must do. It’s senseless to straddle this fence and we need to get off on one side or the other.

If we get off on the wrong side, our Multi-Sports Complex may well be known as our Multi-Sports White Elephant.

SOUTHEASTERN’S Laramie Beal ripped the ball at a .462 clip at the St. Mary’s NCAA Division II College Classic.

That was enough to gain Co-Player of the Week honors in the Great American Conference.

Coach Ron Faubion’s LadyStorm softballers were 3-2 overall in San Antonio. It could have been better. It could have been worse.

Beal, a sophomore from Coalgate, ripped a two-out standup double in the second inning of the first game to collect the team’s first hit of 2014 and start her six-for-13 weekend.

Newcomer Sydney Kramer nipped Beal for the team lead with seven-for-13 and a .538 average. Returnees Jessica Simmons (.429) and Lacie Cook (.400) rounded out the .400-plus hitters.

Mindy McElroy overcame illness to go 1-0 with a nifty 0.72 earned-run average while striking out four and walking none.

Jacee Bennett and Shayna Milam were 1-1 each.

The LadyStorm now face a 16-day wait until the next schedule game at Ouachita Baptist on February 22 to open GAC competition.

You can safely wager the coach is scrambling madly to find someone to play during that 16-day delay.

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