It's quickly become an annual tradition in Stephenville City Park.

Youth from around the region pack their swim trunks and fishing gear and go to a …softball tournament?

That's right, the American Softball Association District 12 tournament for girls ages 8U-14U is back at City Park Thursday through Sunday, and with youth of all ages visiting, it's about more than just the girls on the diamond, says Stephenville recreation superintendent Brenda Haggard.

"The softball is the centerpiece, but we've seen little kids bring their fishing pole and try to catch something from the Bosque, we've seen kids head over to Splashville, everything," Haggard said. "Our City Park allows us to offer so much more than just softball, and that makes it a great time for everyone."

District teams are all within range to travel to and from Stephenville each day of the event, but Haggard says there are still those who stay over.

"It's nice because the teams are close enough to home they can go and come back if they need to, but we also have everything needed for those diehards, and they are out there," she said. "For some, the tournaments are their vacation. That's how they get away is by staying over either in their camper or in a hotel."

Either way, anytime an event brings traffic to Stephenville, it's a win.

"People need snacks, everyone has to eat," she said. "They need fuel to get around. They go to Walmart or somewhere else because a player has ripped their socks or something like that. It's a positive for the economy of our local community."

Not all the teams will be traveling to and from Stephenville. Some are fortunate to be competing at home. Stephenville Parks and Recreation Department has three teams in action, one each in the 10U, 12U and 14U divisions.

The 14U Stephenville Shockwave has a pool game - pool play is for warmup only - against Cisco at 7 p.m. Thursday and fire their first pitch of bracket play at 8 p.m. Friday when they take on the Brownwood Monster, both at McCleskey Field.

The 12U Stephenville Strikers have their pool game against Cisco at 8 p.m. Thursday at Optimist Field. They begin bracket play against the Dublin Crush at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, also at Optimist Field.

The 10U Stephenville All-Stars have a pool game against Cisco at 7 p.m. Friday at Saint Gobain Field. They begin bracket play against the Eastland Eclipse at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at New Youth Complex Field 1.

The 12U Dublin Crush will also be in the first round of games at 7 p.m. Thursday when they face the Glen Rose Lady Tigers at Optimist Field.

"We hope to have teams in all four divisions next year," said Haggard. "Anytime your high school has success in a sport, it starts gaining popularity around town. With the high school girls having made the playoffs the last couple years, we've already seen that trickle down to our youth leagues. We're growing fast."

View brackets and more online at txasa12.org, and watch for coverage at yourstephenvilletx.com and in the Sunday print edition of the E-T.

Follow Brad Keith on Twitter @etsports