York hotel left off of softballers' list

YORK -- Hotel rooms around the Charlotte area are selling out as about 300 softball teams come to the area to participate in the National Softball Association Girls Fastpitch World Series, which begins Monday.

But in York, rooms remain open despite that the York Recreation Complex is hosting 30 or more games most days during the tournament.

That's because York's only national hotel, The Days Inn, was not included on the NSA online list of hotels in the area.

The hotel has not booked any of the teams.

Hotel owner Andy Patel said he was unsure why his lodge was not included on the list but declined to comment further on the issue.

The NSA hired a booking agency to handle its room stays. Typically, the agency will contact the hotels in the area and ask them to participate under the NSA requirements to be a host hotel, said Robert Thomas, sports marketing coordinator for the Rock Hill/York County Convention and Vistors Bureau. The hotels have to sign a contract that they're going to abide by a certain rate and other requirements.

"All the hotels that sign off and participate under those guidelines should be listed under their site," Thomas said.

He said he didn't know why York's hotel wasn't included.

A representative with the booking agency said information was mailed out to all the hotels in the area. All those who responded were put on the list, he said.

What's bad for the hotel business could be bad for other York businesses, city leaders say.

Owners of restaurants and other entertainment venues could lose business because of teams staying in other towns, said Ann Morrison, president of York's Downtown Business Association.

"When they're staying here in the town and spend more time in the town, they tend to frequent the restaurants and the shops. I think it definitely has an impact," she said. "I hate that ours were not included."

Julie Fellenz, manager of the Sonic Drive-In located beside the Days Inn and near the recreational complex, said teams typically do stop by to eat at her restaurant.

She said she wasn't aware that the hotel wouldn't be hosting teams this year.

"We're hoping to be busy regardless," she said.

Thomas said having the teams staying in town definitely has an impact.

"Folks go shopping and dining and they spend gas money and all the other ways that they put money back into the county," he said. "It does have a significant impact, because they are here for a week."

Friday evening, three of Rock Hill's four listed hotels had filled all their rooms for the tournament. Three of four Pineville, N.C., hotels, three of four Gastonia, N.C., hotels and one of three Fort Mill hotels also were sold out.