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Thread: Coaster Classic @ Sports Force Park (Cedar Point)

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    Coaster Classic @ Sports Force Park (Cedar Point)

    Had the opportunity to play at the recently opened Sports Force Park in Sandusky this weekend and wanted to take a moment to review the experience for others who might be thinking about attending a tournament there.

    Positives:
    1. The facility itself is top notch. In a few years when the trees have grown, it will be even better. The turf is very, very nice. Lots of stuff for siblings to do around the facility while games are happening.

    2. They had a large soccer field and several batting tunnels set aside for warm ups. This was very nice.

    3. The team trophies and player medals were as nice as you'll find at any tournament you play.

    Negatives:
    1. We had entered the Coaster Classic before it was moved to the new facility. Communication about the switch was limited from the City of Sandusky and then communication from the new facility wasn't the best. They wanted more paperwork than any other tournament that we have ever attended. The schedule wasn't posted until 5 days before the tournament opened. For people needing to take off work, this creates numerous problems.

    2. The fields all had cinder block backstops that were waist high and not padded at all. To me, this seemed like a major safety issue both for catchers chasing foul pop ups and for umpires who had to duck balls coming right back at them. I was really surprised they didn't have those block walls padded.

    3. They had no safety bases at first. As the Dad of a first baseman, this is a major pet peeve of mine. At a facility of this caliber, knowing they were going to be hosting softball games, this is simply unacceptable.

    4. We were never quite sure what rules we were playing under. I never saw anything that said ASA, USSSA, NF, etc. Maybe I just missed it, but I don't think so. There were a couple of pages of tournament rules that were obviously designed for baseball (no pitchers allowed to re-enter games for example), but even those rules were only sporadically followed. In one pool play game, we had an umpire flat out tell us we were not playing by their tournament rules. They also decided, without any notice, to change a couple of the rules. We had no idea until the pre-game coaches meeting at the plate.

    5. The umpiring was a mixed bag. It seemed that in a couple of our games we had umpires more interested in getting the game over than in maintaining the integrity of the game. We had one umpire calling girls out for leaving base early with the girls standing on the bag when the mercy rule was still very much in doubt. He could have very easily cost himself another inning. He then proceeded to call a ridiculously large strike zone to make sure he was done as soon as possible. In the championship game, the plate umpire refused to allow our pitcher more than a single warm-up pitch in the first inning and threatened to throw out anyone who protested. I've NEVER seen that before. He then refused to allow appeals on check swings and had the wrong count costing one of our girls a BB and refused to check with the official scorer or the base umpire on the count. It's one thing to be an obnoxious jerk when you're right but it's so much worse when you're wrong which he was. I'm not sure where they got the umpires or who they were licensed through (they didn't have ASA or USSSA gear), but teams have the right to expect better. I know at least one game was delayed nearly 30 minutes when the two teenage umpires didn't show up on time.

    6. You're going to pay for EVERYTHING there. I get it. They're trying to make money. But, not to allow a team cooler is ridiculous. In an email prior to the tournament, they promised to have full coolers of water in the dugout for each game which they used as the rationale for not being able to bring anything into the facility. Well, on Saturday it's 90+ degrees and sure enough, our water cooler is empty and we've got a girl sick from the heat. We flagged down a golf cart and they promised water was on its way. Two innings later we're still out of water. I approach the official scorer, who is a uniformed employee of the facility with a radio, and ask him to radio to get us some water and that we have a sick girl. He was exceptionally rude and informed me that water "wasn't his job." He refused to make the simple radio call asking someone to get us water. What a joke. Also, the water was only in the dugouts. Games were consistently behind schedule, so if you needed water in the 90 minutes to 2 hours you were there before your game started then the only option was to dig deep and buy a bottle.

    7. A related item - if they aren't going to let you bring in food and then charge very high prices you for what you buy there, they need to have their concessions adequately staffed. Extremely long lines made it difficult to get food between games. It's bad enough to pay $10 for a turkey sub, but don't make people wait forever to get it!

    8. The tournament set up itself was very strange. Without any notice, they decided to create two tournaments out of one. We think they made it separate 12U and 11U tournaments, but nobody made it clear that it was done that way. When we signed up and paid for the Coaster Classic it was a 3 pool play followed by bracket play format. When the tournament scheduled was finally released, they had changed the format. It was still three pool play games but then it just got weird. The top 4 teams went directly to a semi-final with 1 playing 4 and 2 playing 3 and then on to a championship game. For everyone else (16 teams in just the 12/11U groups), they got only a single friendly game on Sunday and then their tournament was done. No chance to advance, no chance to play more than the single game. I know of at least one situation where a team decided it wasn't worth their time and just didn't show up on Sunday. That left their opponent ready to play, warmed up and at the field with no opponent. Shame on the team that didn't show up. Even bigger shame on Sports Force Park who created the situation and then only offered a $50 refund to the team who was promised at least 4 games and only got 3 with no weather issues at all over the weekend.

    9. Since we were originally signed up for the Coaster Classic, we got a price break. But, other teams paid $695 and the facility is Stay to Play. I guess more power to them if they can get people to pay it, but in my opinion, that is way over priced even with the nice facility, especially given the gate fee and no outside food/drink policy.

    10. They have major issues with their parking. How they could have built this facility and not done a parking study is beyond me. They set up off-site parking with a shuttle service to handle to overflow. We managed to get a parking space all three days, but I have to believe it was a huge inconvenience for people who were forced to use the off-site parking.

    In conclusion, it's a very nice facility with the potential to host a really awesome softball tournament. But, they fell far short of that potential this weekend. They seem to be a jack of all sports (baseball, softball, soccer, football, lacrosse, etc) but certainly don't have the expertise that we regularly see to run a softball tournament. Given the price point, we won't be back.

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    Re: Coaster Classic @ Sports Force Park (Cedar Point)

    Very well put. This tournament was highly recommended to me by the coaches of the older teams in our organization as a great team-building experience. I can say that this event did that.
    We also had the benefit of signing up early. I would have been very disappointed if we had to pay the $695 price for 4-5 games.
    The paperwork process was absolutely ridiculous. As a head coach, I had to spend many hours gathering the information and submitting the 6-8 documents required ( along with getting our insurance document adjusted to list 5 separate entities-ASA is great about this ) I talked with the young lady responsible for collecting the paperwork. She was very cordial and helped me with the process. She assured me that they would be using a dedicated website in the future.
    The water thing was ridiculous as well. We didn't have the issue in the dugout but when it's 90+ degrees outside and the girls are warming up on plastic turf, they get hot fast. No water jugs in the warmup areas. Had to spend $30 to purchase bottled water for my girls during warm ups.
    We will not be returning in the future.

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    Re: Coaster Classic @ Sports Force Park (Cedar Point)

    Please let me add to this, please be kind to the Cedar Point personnel at the gate. They are aware of the issues with the pricing, but they do not have any control over that. My dd works there and she is getting tired of parents and the coaches not reading the paperwork. I told my DD to start giving me team names if they are wearing anything on it and I will address their coach about it.

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    Re: Coaster Classic @ Sports Force Park (Cedar Point)

    Stay to play, gate fee, no water, no thanks... Probably charged to park too huh ?

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    Re: Coaster Classic @ Sports Force Park (Cedar Point)

    Quote Originally Posted by 3ballbratz View Post
    Stay to play, gate fee, no water, no thanks... Probably charged to park too huh ?
    Yes, it's a separate entity much like Kings Island. They do give a discounted ticket if participation in a tourney there, but not sure the amount of discount. My dd has been yelled at several times by parents of participating teams of all sports and I'm kinda getting sick of it. Just like she gets yelled at by parents who don't realize the Fast Lane is an additional cost on top of tickets.

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    Re: Coaster Classic @ Sports Force Park (Cedar Point)

    I agree with everything you mentioned however we had water run out and official scorer called it in and it was delivered within a few minutes. We finished 3rd last year and really enjoyed the battle through the Sunday bracket. This year we made it into the 4th seed of 12u bracket lost to the eventual winners. We were in early enough that we didn't pay the $695 or I'd have been very disappointed. Game scheduling was horrible all of our games started over an hour late 90 minutes on one game Saturday but apparently an ump was injured.
    Thry did have water fountain in the back but low pressure hard to refill bottles. This has been our favorite but very doubtful we'll go back st $700.

    I did kinda agree with a team that finished 2-1 16u consolation game was later in afternoon they were going to leave but stuck it out they were disappointed.

    Facility was great but I also noted the safety issues of a block wall with a 6" overhang just enough to brutally injure a diving catcher. Also the fences had to be set at 250+ feet misplayed balls turned doubles into HRs.

    What were the rules originally home away away was set then coin toss. Free subs for pitcher and cstcher than only one per inning. Was never sure umps knew rules from game to game. But overall felt they were inconsistently consistent which I guess all you can hope for in 12u.

    I give it a C+ for overall experience.

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    Re: Coaster Classic @ Sports Force Park (Cedar Point)

    No charge to park but out of curiosity one of the moms called and found the rooms we paid 189 were $135 to 135 on weekends.

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    Re: Coaster Classic @ Sports Force Park (Cedar Point)

    Found all the workers to be helpful and pleasant.

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    Re: Coaster Classic @ Sports Force Park (Cedar Point)

    That is how they milk the parents even further with the Stay and Play. You can call the same hotel, tell them you are with a non-softball group or ask for the AAA rate. Price will be $25-$35 cheaper. There is not one good thing about Sports Force Park. Once the novelty of playing on turf fields wears off (usually about warm ups on a 90 degree day), that place is done. There isn't a single thing they do well there.

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    Re: Coaster Classic @ Sports Force Park (Cedar Point)

    This tournament was nothing more than a money grab for the park. Like mentioned above there was no true bracket play. In the 14U division there were 3 pools (2) 11 team pools and (1) 12 team pool. After your 3 pool play games only the top 4 teams played in a possible 2 game bracket within the same pool. How can you have a tournament winner if the pools never combine into one bracket. This made for 3 tournament champions in the 14U bracket. For $695 I would expect better. As far as the umpiring it was crazy each game different rules, nothing consistent.

    We had registered prior to this tournament being moved to a Sports Force Parks. I had to have my team change hotels because the hotel we had already reserved was not part of their "stay to play" program. The hotel did not meet the expectations as it was falsely advertised as having queen beds and laundry. They had neither all rooms were doubles, not to mention it cost nearly $190 per night after taxes.

    I have zero desire in attending another tournament at this facility until changes are made. They came across as amateurs putting on tournaments.

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