SWEET HOME ALABAMA: Smash it Sports Vipers Pro Fastpitch Team Makes its Home at Choccolocco Park
Cara Martin, Smash it Sports
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ROCHESTER, NY and OXFORD, AL, Jan. 25th, 2023 -- Smash it Sports and the City of Oxford are very excited to announce that the Smash it Sports Vipers Professional Fastpitch team has officially landed at the Choccolocco Park Signature Softball Stadium as its home base. The 300+ acre facility is home to a variety of sporting events, including softball, baseball, track & field, cross country, and soccer, along with maintaining walking and biking trails, playgrounds, and more.
Oxford, Alabama is no stranger to elite softball. Last July, Choccolocco Park hosted the Women’s National Team Exhibition games where Team USA, Team Australia, and Team Japan participated.
In October of 2022, Jacksonville State University hosted the Tera Ross Memorial Tournament. A member of the NCAA Division I ASUN (Atlantic Sun) Conference, JSU hosts the annual tournament in honor of former JSU standout pitcher, Tera Ross. Ross was a three-time letter winner who was tragically killed in an automobile accident just before her senior season.
In addition to the National Team Exhibition Games and the Tera Ross Memorial Tournament, the park is also home to the ASUN DI Softball Championship, the GSC (Gulf South Conference) DII Softball Championship, the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) DII Softball National Championship, and the NJCAA DI Softball National Championship.
Smash it Sports and the City of Oxford have been working in tandem for several months on this venture and are very enthusiastic about the direction of both. Alton Craft, Mayor of the City of Oxford, had this to say about the deal:
“This takes everything we have been doing at Choccolocco Park and elevates it to an entirely new level. We have now brought in our first professional sports franchise to Oxford, AL and there is an abundance of opportunities this partnership brings."
As a member of the Women’s Professional Fastpitch League, Smash it Sports has been looking for a permanent home since the WPF Exhibition Season in 2022. During that time, they were temporarily housed in Viera, FL at the USSSA Space Coast Complex, home of the USSSA Pride Professional Fastpitch Team. The Pride is another member of the WPF.
Although various prospects were explored for the Viper home, Choccolocco had one thing that the others did not, a multi-field venue. “A major factor in choosing Choccolocco Park was the complex itself,” stated Smash it Sports President and SIS Vipers Owner, Rick Schiffhauer. "The eight on-site softball fields provide opportunities for our professional athletes to impact youth players on a larger scale. Our goal is to host tournaments and clinics where our professional players are working closely with the next generation.”
Having two daughters, Kendall and Riley, who both play softball, Rick believes in fostering opportunities for younger athletes who can dream of one day playing on the big stage. He views Choccolocco Park as a way to cultivate that.
In addition to the Choccolocco Complex, Schiffhauer said that the positive interactions and progressive environment that the representatives at Oxford have built also played a part in the decision-making process.
"I can't say enough about Rick Schiffhauer and Smash It Sports,” commented WPF Commissioner Lauren Chamberlain. “When Rick wants something done, he finds a way. This strategic relocation and home field acquisition for the Vipers is a huge step forward for our league in solidifying ourselves. We're here to stay and moves like this prove it."
The league has doubled in size this year from last, bringing in two new teams based out of Texas and Oklahoma City.
"We are very excited to bring a Women's Professional Fastpitch franchise to Oxford," said Don DeDonatis, General Manager of the Smash It Sports Vipers. "Having a permanent home to grow our fan base has not only been my goal, but the goal of the players and coaches as well. There is nothing better than playing in front of, and having the support and following of, a home crowd.”
Vipers Head Coach Gerry Glasco shared DeDonatis' sentiments. "The SIS Vipers are thrilled to be welcomed to their new home in the hotbed of softball! Alabama loves this sport and passionately supports its teams.We can't wait to provide this opportunity for the community to watch the greatest softball players in the world competing at the highest level of our sport."
Signature Softball Stadium is currently undergoing various changes for the 2023 season as it updates and expands its locker rooms, seating, field amenities, and more. Additional information about Choccolocco Park can be found at www.choccoloccopark.com
For more information on the Smash it Sports Vipers, visit sisvipers.com