Erie update May 30, 2015 and GREAT news for international players

May 30, 2015

Erie, PA


Greeting Fastball fans
As the season is underway,  so is preparations for the Ed McCormick tournament in Erie PA... which is shaping up to be one of the best tournaments in 2015:   Hill United,  NY Gremlins,  Scarboro Force,  Hallman Twins,  NE Drilers,  Toronto Gators,  NY Peligro Gremlins,  Circle Tap, Bloomington Stix and CPI are some of the teams committed to this year's event.  I am still hoping to lock down 12 teams to set up 3 brackets of 4 teams.    So far, about 1/2 of the teams have sent in their entry fees (hint, hint).   Day by day I get emails from fans saying they are coming 
With a shortened season and very few chances for these teams to play against each other, and other teams entering the ISC even less chances to face the top teams before heading into the ISC..,  Erie provides a great opportunity for the ISC fans to see the top teams and teams who want to face the best a chance.  There is also no other place for fans of fastball to be right on top of the action.  WITH THAT SAID:  There is still room for a couple more teams.     And, for what it's worth, I'm still waiting on entry fees from a few too.  As any tournament director knows,  there is a giant sense of relief when the entry fee is in hand. While teams can always withdraw and no-show,  its less likely when an entry fee has been sent  
GREAT NEWS:     A while ago,  I informed the teams and softball world that the host hotel for Erie (Avalon Hotel) is offering a weekly rate for the foreign players who are hear for shortened seasons, dealing with ISF games, Pan Am games, and club tournaments (ASA, ISC and Erie for example).    This is a particularly good deal for the foreign players on Canadian teams who do not want to continually cross the board for ASA, Erie, then ISC.   Aussies, Argentine's, Kiwis, Venzuelans, Danish, and other international players can have enormous anxiety when crossing the boarder multiple times and having to explain what they are doing here, are they professional ballplayers, how are they supporting themselves without work permits, etc.   So, with the shortened season and 3 top tournaments late in the summer (ASA, Erie and ISC) all being in America,  I asked the Avalon if they'd offer a weekly rate for teams who would rather leave players in the USA instead of transporting them back and forth, to and from Canada.  The popularity of this offer has been better than I expected and the Avalon is extending their generosity..    They have lowered the price to $65 per night (which comes to $510 with taxes).   The Avalon is popular among the players for it's proximity to plenty of things to do:  Minor league baseball stadium,  bars, clubs, resturants, etc.     Erie is 2.5 hours from Ashland for the ASA and approx 5-6 hours to South Bend for ISC.    Keeping your players at the Avalon would eliminate the problem of trying to find housing, such as apartments, for only a couple weeks.   And while there are other hotels in Erie that may be a few dollars cheaper,  the ballplayers who have come to Erie in the past seem to love the Avalon's location to the things to do in downtown Erie.   Also, the international players staying at the Avalon are approx 4 miles from my house and will be welcome to come over for cook-outs,  swim in the pool,  play in our Tuesday "league game" (we have 2 remaining fastpitch teams in Erie and the games are very low key, relaxed and sponsored by Budweiser which means free beer after the games!).  But, myself and Tom Berube pitch in the games, and there will be plenty of opportunities for others to pitch/play getting some pitching work in and swings against quality pitching,  Which means pretty decent quality of at-bats.  And the more international players that end up staying here,  the stronger that game would become.   The Avalon also has it's own bar and restaurant,  but is very close to multiple others serving  
Sponsors, managers, coaches, etc. can contact me and I'll help with getting players pre-payed cellphones here in the US,,   It's also cheaper to spend $100 at Walmart on a GPS than it is to rent one from the car rental company for $10 per day.   So,  I can go get GPS's for those who want them.     Keep in mind,  the cheaper GPS's don't work in both USA and Canada so we'd be looking for US only GPS's, unless you guys wanted both.  
Some may be wondering why I'm going to such extremes, if I have some motive or agenda.   Truth be told,  during my playing days (especially in New Zealand) I stayed in some unique places without a lot of help in come cases.   So,  there's no agenda other than wanting to help the teams, sponsors, and players.  Of course,  I wouldn't object if the sponsors of the teams I'm helping collectively chipped in to send Jamie and I on a vacation to Aruba for all my efforts but... one can only hope.  ha ha.   Yes, that's a joke.   I'm just grateful the Saskatoon board is not operational like it was or I'd get to read about my wanting to help the game being a money making venture or something that effect (from the anonymous posters) despite the fact none of this money would be handled by me at all, except the tournament entry fees.   God forbid someone just do something to try helping the game!!   Anyway...
Those interested in making use of the Avalon's fantastic rate can contact me,  I will help make the connections.   Those interested in 
Teams interested in the Erie tournament, facing the best possible competition 1 week prior to the ISC WT.    I will do my best to be as helpful as possible with scheduling to avoid teams playing each other in Erie that they've already played multiple times.   For some of the Ontario teams that may be on the fence about coming,  I will do my best to work with you providing later starts to save you the need for 2 nights hotels:   Kitchener Cubs, Niagara Snappers, etc......  Please get in touch with me if you have interest and lets see what kind of arrangement we can make. 
I WOULD ALSO LOVE TO HAVE GAMES FRIDAY NIGHT FOR ANYONE WHO CAN MAKE IT.   Playing on Friday night insures a later start on Sunday for you and, obviously, 1 less pool game on Saturday. 
Questions from potential teams wanting to enter and/or sponsors/coaches looking to use the Avalon for the weekly rate (or booking rooms for the tournament) can email me, call or text at my info below..  
Bill Hillhouse
814.392.3369   call/text/viber


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