SALEM (WSLS 10) - Monday was day one of the national fast-pitch championship for 127 teams from 31 states and the tournament brought nearly 2,000 players and coaches - along with their parents and fans who came to support their teams.
Heading up the tournament, John McPhail helped secure the area's bid for the tournament each year. He said the majority of those who traveled to Virginia for the championship will stay for the week and tour area attractions.
"They are guaranteed to play through Thursday, so they are in our area for at least five days and four nights," McPhail said. "It's a massive amount of people at local restaurants, and we do a tournament program in which we support our local area businesses such as Mac N' Bob's and Macado's."
Organizers included links to local businesses and hotels on their website, directing teams and families where to find the best food and fun Salem and Roanoke have to offer.
For local businesses, it's paying off. General Manager of Mac and Bob's in Salem, Keith Griswold, said the restaurant took reservations all day Monday.
"This week is going to be fantastic. It's going to boost our sales by quite a lot," Griswold said. "The whole staff is really geared up to make some extra money this week."
The crowd is so good for sales during slow summer months, Griswold said they've even brought on extra staff in preparation for the high number of customers.
It's money McPhail says is well earned by the area's southern hospitality. This is the third year Salem has played host to the tournament.
"The teams absolutely love the area. They love the Mill Mountain Star. Most of them said they've never been here before and in the emails I got from them they said they are very excited to see what we have to offer," McPhail said.
The championship wraps up on August 2.