Each year, football and basketball fans eagerly look forward to see how their favorite college team does in the recruiting of the top high school players.

For those who make the grade, they get a chance to continue their education and playing careers with the help of scholarship money.

That scholarship opportunity is also available to the top girls softball players, as well. The college and university offer scholarships to the top players. And this weekend, the college coaches will get a chance to see some of the upcoming talent from this area when the Xplosion girls fast-pitch team travels to the University of Tennessee to participate in the Big Orange Showcase tournament.

"This is a college showcase tournament," Xplosion Coach Dr. Craig Martin said. "Our girls will get to play in front of the coaches and players at Tennessee. And other coaches will be there, as well.

"There is scholarship money for softball players. A girl might get a scholarship and have a chance to go to a college or university that she might not have had the chance to go to, otherwise. Our girls are young now and it gives the coaches a chance to see them."

Martin said the Xplosion will enter the tournament in the 18U division with nine other teams.

"We are the only team coming from Mississippi," Martin said. "Other teams will be coming from Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky.

"We are getting to play top competition. And, the girls will get a chance to tour the Tennessee campus and meet with some of their coaches and players," Martin said.

The team leaves for Knoxville on Friday and will begin play on Saturday with pool games. The tournament continues through Sunday.

Martin said everyone is looking forward to the trip but added this will help the Xplosion warm up for the Southern Regionals which will be held July 24-28 at Gulfport.

"There will be 26 teams in the Southern Regionals and that's what we have been preparing for," Martin said. "We'll finish up our summer season and then the girls will start practicing for their high school slow-pitch season."

The Southern Nationals is a USFA sanctioned event, and the Xplosion has been accumulating points all summer that will help with their seeding in the tournament.

"Right now, we are the second seeded team in the tournament," Martin said. "That will give us a first round bye. That means the first team we play will have played a game."