Jul 17, 2014 9:28 PM by John Patrick
NOGALES, Ariz. - Young baseball players from across the Western U.S. are batting up and boosting the economy in Nogales.
The Little League Western Regional Tournament is underway in Nogales and local businesses are welcoming hundreds of baseball fans during what can normally be a slow time of year.
Eleven all-star teams from nine different states are in Santa Cruz County for the regional tournament. For JoAnn Dukart and her two grandsons, who are representing Montana, it has been a whirlwind last couple of weeks to get this far but well worth it.
"It's all about the kids. They are just having the best time ever and they are so amped," says Dukart.
Ricky Maytorena, the director of the tournament, estimates up to 2,000 people will be in Nogales for the event and it's the small town atmosphere that landed this tournament in Nogales.
"That's what you need for something like this. At the end of the day without this community there is no one person that puts this thing together," explains Maytorena.
Several different cities put bids in for the event that promises to be big business for the small border town.
The Esplendor Resort at Rio Rico is hosting several Little League teams and has seen firsthand how profitable this event can be. Sandra Davila, International Sales Manager of Esplendor, says all 179 rooms of the resort are booked through the weekend.
"It's definitely a positive impact for the whole community, Nogales and Rio Rico. Any other year this would be our slowest season and it's been great," says Davila.
This event is giving places like the Esplendor Resort at Rio Rico an opportunity to show people from Hawaii to Alaska what Southern Arizona is all about.
"We embrace the opportunity to tell everyone it's a border town and it's a peaceful place to live and bring business. It's an opportunity we are taking advantage of," explains Davila.
The Little League Western Regional Tournament runs through next Thursday and the winner will represent the West Coast in the Little League World Series in Livermore, CA.