|Published:||Feb 22, 2013 7:35 PM EST|
|Updated:||Feb 22, 2013 7:35 PM EST|
CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - 40 college teams are bringing America's favorite pastime and millions of dollars to Charlotte County.
Friday, South Dakota state took on Ohio state at the fifth annual Snowbird Baseball Classic.
"It's awesome! It's tirst time we've been outside and it's nice being outside, playing baseball, " said starting pitcher, Layne Somsen.
He left the snow and the cold of South Dakota for sunny Southwest Florida.
"We start today playing here in Charlotte County. We open up with Ohio State and South Dakota state playing in the Rays stadium in the Charlotte Sports Park and then we go clear up to March the 18th. South Dakota and Ohio State took the field Friday and join 38 other teams from 17 states," said said event organizer, Steve Partington.
"We have the umpires, the coaches, families coming in, parties of 80 or more, they are traveling from all over the country to see the baseball down here," asid General Manager, Nate Karstens.
"Last year we brought in 4 point 3 million, this year 5 and 7 million this year the restaurants love us the hotels love us," said Partington.
Ohio State's Greg Beals has been bringing his team to the tournament every year since he's been head coach.
"We've got a great base down here, but everyone from the hotels to the restaurants very hospitable and really seem to like us," said Beals.
The Snowbird Baseball Classic continues through March 17th.