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Broken Arrow, Bixby host one of the nation’s “top” softball recruiting tournaments

OU softball players at the Women's College World Series
Posted at 5:05 PM, Jun 08, 2023

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — As the OU Sooners softball team gears up for game two of the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, recruiters and scouts are gathering in Broken Arrow and Bixby to catch a glimpse of the up-and-comers in the softball world.

The Tulsa Elite Summer Invite started in 2011 with 16 teams. This year, there are 120 teams from more than a dozen states. Their website calls it “one of the nation’s top recruiting events of the year.”

Lindon Baptiste travels across the country to umpire softball and says this is the prime tournament for players wanting to showcase their talent to more than 100 college coaches.
“Coaches can’t get around and see everyone or they may only see high school players in their area,” said Baptiste. “But when you can get out and see players from all over the country, these tournaments are important.”

Softball is breaking records every year for TV viewership as well as game attendance.

“More young ladies at a younger age are getting into playing sports,” said Baptiste. “Most young age groups have a sister who played or a family member who played so they start playing at a younger age.”

Kylei Russell traveled from Alabama. She started playing softball at the age of six. “I think this is a great place to get showcased and everybody to get looked at,” she said.

Russell has already committed to play softball at a school in the fall, but she and her family are excited to be in Oklahoma this week for an additional reason.

“We are going to watch Florida State and OU in Oklahoma City tonight for the World Series,” said Tammy Russell, Kylei’s mother.

Hosting the event on the back end of the World Series has added to the tournament’s success.

However, when talking about that game, Kylei gave an answer as a fan from Alabama likely would.

“I think it would be nice to have a new national champion for a change but I don’t have anything against OU,” she said. “I was rooting for Alabama.”

The invite wraps up on Sunday. The Senior Division plays at Arrowhead Park in Broken Arrow. The Junior Division plays at Bentley Sports Complex in Bixby.

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