In youth softball, where passion, talent, and dreams collide, one event stands out as a shining beacon of excellence – the Ray Seymour Invitational (RSI). Established to honor the memory and legacy of the legendary Tampa Mustangs Founder and College Softball Hall of Fame member Ray Seymour, this annual showcase has become a cornerstone in the world of fastpitch softball. The event will occur in Newberry, FL, October 20-22, 2023.
Celebrating a Legacy of Softball Excellence
Coach Ray Seymour’s love for the game was boundless, and he shared that love with countless young athletes in Florida. In 1981, he founded the Tampa Mustangs, setting in motion a journey that would provide hundreds of softball enthusiasts the opportunity to play at the highest level. Today, his daughter, Sherrie Seymour Steeper, carries the torch, leading the Tampa Mustangs organization, with Cathy Seymour serving as Honorary President. Together, they uphold Coach Ray’s legacy and vision.
The Rise of RSI: A Showcase Like No Other
In 2021, the Ray Seymour Invitational joined forces with Connect Sports, setting the stage for an unforgettable inaugural event. It featured 55 top-tier club teams and organizations and an impressive roster of college coaches that took many by surprise. In 2022, the event grew even more, with 81 teams participating and an expanded list of college coaches from every division. And now, in 2023, RSI is set to host a staggering 122 elite club teams.
A Showcase of Champions and Rising Stars
This year’s RSI promises an array of thrilling matchups. Expect to witness PGF National Champions, USA National Champions, and top finishers from Alliance Nationals battling it out on the diamond. But it’s not just about the champions; RSI also shines a spotlight on local and regional Florida and Southeast clubs, ensuring that hardworking athletes who dream big get the visibility they deserve.
A College Coach’s Paradise
For college coaches, RSI is a paradise of talent. With a diverse range of teams and skill levels, from D1 to JUCO, there are plenty of top-level athletes to scout and recruit. The 2022 College Coach Attendance list is a testament to the event’s growing popularity.
A United Front of Talent from 19 States
This year, RSI boasts participation from 19 states, a testament to its growing influence in the softball community. Teams such as the Birmingham Thunderbolts, Fury Platinum X, Georgia Impact, Breakers Labs California, Top Gun National, and many more converge on Champions Park to showcase their skills and vie for glory.
However, from its inception, one of RSI’s primary goals has been to provide local Florida organizations with a chance to shine on a national stage. RSI is excited to reveal this year that over 70 of the 122 participating teams hail from the Sunshine State. This impressive representation of local talent will be a magnet for college coaches from all corners of the country, making RSI a hotbed of recruitment activity.
Champions Park: Where Dreams Take Flight
RSI takes place in Newberry, Florida, at Champions Park, boasting an impressive 16 fields, providing college coaches with the unique opportunity to evaluate teams spanning the 14u to 18u age range. The growth RSI has experienced in recent years may soon lead to the need for additional fields to accommodate the overwhelming demand.
A Waiting List No More
The soaring popularity of RSI is undeniable, with teams clamoring to participate, even leading to waitlists and the unfortunate necessity of turning teams away. However, the RSI team is committed to exploring solutions to ensure every deserving team can shine in 2024, minimizing or eliminating waitlists.
As the Ray Seymour Invitational continues to grow and evolve, it remains rooted in the values of excellence, community, and the enduring love of softball. This fall, Champions Park in Newberry, Florida, will again be the epicenter of softball magic, where champions are crowned, dreams are born, and the legacy of Coach Ray Seymour lives on. So, grab your glove, put on your jersey, and get ready to witness the future of softball at the RSI – the place where softball dreams and memories unite.