The 2021 Brentwood Invitational Softball Tournament will take place in April, one year after the 2020 softball season was canceled across Williamson County.
The annual event has been held for over a decade, but due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event will not take place at Brentwood’s Crockett Park as originally planned, and will now instead be held at three locations -— Brentwood High School, Centennial High School and Nolensville High School.
Twenty-one teams will compete in the tournament with seven teams scheduled to play at each school.
BHS Head Softball Coach Erica Powell, who has hosted the tournament for six years, said in a phone call that this is the first year with less than 25 teams, sacrifices that have been made to accommodate the tournament in the age of COVID.
Some of the issues that have arisen due to the pandemic including out-of-state teams who would traditionally compete in the tournament being forced to drop out due to concerns over public health in regards to traveling across state lines, as well as staffing challenges.
Powell said that they would have had a fourth location for games, but the manpower needed to actually operate the facilities just weren’t there.
“It’s an undertaking when you do it in one park, but when you have it at four different parks we would have ended up spending more money than we would have earned,” Powell said, adding that Williamson County Schools as well as parents and staff who normally help with the respective school’s sports functions have stepped up to help make the tournament a reality.
“Not only did they agree to host it, but they are going to provide the man-power which is amazing,” Powell said.
Games will kick off at all three locations at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 2, which is Good Friday meaning that WCS students will not be in school, with the last game at all three locations set to begin at 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 3, will see the first games start at 9 a.m. and the last games start at 6 p.m.
The tournament will not have an elimination bracket, and will see every team will play four games, with a winner at every location.
Tickets will be $8 at the gate, and attendees are required to wear a mask as well as abide by other public health measures required by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association.
Powell said that the return of the tournament is a huge accomplishment for her team that she considers a family, her biggest senior class to date, and for all of the athletes, coaches, staff and families who are invested in the game.
“I think we’re all just feeling blessed to be back on the field,” Powell said. “Until you have a season taken away from you and you have to tell your seniors and watch them cry, you don’t realize how important just having that community and those friendships and the things they can achieve together is.”