Marion, Arkansas — The city of Marion, Arkansas is set to host the 2023 Class 5A state baseball and softball tournaments.

32 teams started elimination play Thursday morning and action will run through Saturday, bringing positive exposure to Marion and a “home run” for local businesses.

Danny McDonald from Texarkana checked into the Hampton Inn Thursday with a budget already set for tourney-related activities. “Five hundred probably or so,” McDonald said.

He says he’s impressed with what Marion has to offer. “Seems like you got plenty of restaurants right here close,” McDonald said. “Plenty of hotels, places to stay, roads are good and you got fairly cheap gas.”

Although there is no exact number of how many people who came to town for the tournament, Tacker’s Shake Shack was full of people on Thursday.

“I got people from all over the State,” Jeff Tacker with Tacker’s Shake Shack said.” I got some people from Paragould here. I got another group of girls over there, who are not in the tournament, but they came to watch the tournament. So this is not just for the teams here but the families, the friends. It’s gonna be huge. There’s a lot of people in town.”

Tacker says it’s all hands on deck at this 46-year-old family-owned restaurant in anticipation of what the tournament could mean to the eatery’s “bottom line.”

“We’re anticipating,” Tacker said. “We don’t have a percentage but I know it’s going to be big for us.”

Two elimination baseball games were held in West Memphis Thursday but the remainder of baseball and softball games will be held in Marion with semi-final games set for Saturday.

Championship games are set to be played next weekend in Conway but it’s unknown what impact the rain will have on the tournament’s schedule.