Virginia Wesleyan College has always had an annual softball tournament in the spring. However, it wasn’t until Conrad Parker took the reigns as the head softball coach and tournament director that VWC’s annual tournament began to attract national attention.

Coach Parker began running what he called the Marlin Invitational softball tournament in the Spring of 1998. Sixteen teams came to town and tournament games were played on high school fields in the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

Eventually, the tournament field began expanding and the make up of the participating teams became apparent. Coach Parker and his staff decided to make a move to a permanent complex and also rename the tournament to the Atlantic vs East. Games were played at City View Park in Virginia Beach and a majority of the tournament field came from either the Atlantic or East regions for NCAA DIII softball.

In 2007 the Atlantic vs East was then moved to the Princess Anne Athletic Complex. Located in the city of Virginia Beach, the state of the art PAAC has 8 lighted fields, concessions, rest rooms, covered dug outs and bleachers and a full time field maintenance crew. Aside from having a new complex to take advantage of the tournament needed additional fields due to a growing tournament field, which had expanded to 24 teams.

2008 brought a few changes to Virginia Wesleyan and its annual softball tournament. Brandon Elliott became the new head softball coach at the Virginia Wesleyan and (with Coach Parker’s blessings) decided to rename the tournament to the Beach Blast. The 2008 tournament attracted teams from several regions and states. Thirty teams came from upstate New York all the way to Louisiana to participate in the 2008 Beach Blast.

Partnered with the city of Virginia Beach, the Beach Blast continues to be one of the most successful DIII softball tournaments across the country. The Beach Blast attracts teams from all across the country and would ultimately like to expand to 40 teams.