Local father-daughter duo wins gold at Bainbridge pickleball tournament

Published 3:22 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Mike Albritton and his daughter, Grier Albritton, took in first place at the first Annual Bainbridge Pickleball Open. The father-daughter duo dominated in the 3.0 mixed doubles division.

“We had a good time,” Albritton said. “It was fun!”

The Bainbridge Pickleball Open saw more than 100 participants from Bainbridge, south Georgia and across the tri-state area go for gold at the Bill Reynolds Tennis and Pickleball Center. It was the center’s 2nd hosted pickleball event since completing construction on 12 courts at the end of 2023. Mark Gonzales, the Director of Rackets at the Tennis and Pickleball Center, said it’s encouraging to see a triple-digit attendance at the tournament. 

Email newsletter signup

“It’s what you want to have,” Gonzales said. “It’s what you plan for… Pickleball is growing, and it’s something we’ve embraced.”

Gonzales put the tournament on with the help of Southern Pickleball, a company that runs and operates pickleball events across the southeast. In the partnership, Gonzales invited Southern Pickleball to use the Tennis and Pickleball Center’s courts to run the tournament for them.

“It’s a good organization,” Gonzales said about Southern Pickleball. “They run it well.”

Albritton, Bainbridge’s community ambassador for Pickleball USA, said he’s been trying to grow the sport in town since 2020. There weren’t any courts in Bainbridge at the time, and Albritton was working to bring some to town. He finally triumphed when two courts were built on Potter St., but he wasn’t expecting much more growth and said he never expected it to grow to 100+ person tournaments.

“When we got the Potter Street courts, I figured that was it,” Albritton said. “It was supposed to be four, ended up being two… This weekend was another really big milestone to cement our dominance in being the pickleball epicenter.”