Huge showing expected for annual Governor’s Cup

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 23, 2003

[7/23/03]Nearly 60 youth baseball teams in nine age groups will descend on Warren County starting on Friday in the annual Governor’s Cup baseball tournament at Halls Ferry Park. The competition begins Friday at 6 p.m., when teams in the 7-8-year-olds’, 9-10-year-olds’, 11-year-olds’, and 14-year-olds’ age groups take the field.

Next weekend, the 5-6-year-olds’, 11-12-year-olds, and 7-, 9- and 13-year-olds’ teams will compete.

“I think we’ll equal or pass what we’ve had before,” tournament director William “Boozer” Emerson said. “If the 12s do what they did last year, we’ll be full.”

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The number of teams competing this weekend is a significant increase over last year’s tournament, thanks to a surge of registrations among the 11- and 14-year-olds’ teams.

In 2002, only three 11-year-olds’ teams entered the tournament, and the 14-year-olds’ division was eliminated when two of the four registered teams withdrew at the last minute.

This time there are 12 teams in the 11-year-olds’ bracket and seven in the 14-year-olds’ division. Another 14-year-olds’ team may be added before the tournament brackets are finalized, Emerson said. In all, 24 teams participated in three age groups in 2002, while 33 will play on the first weekend this year.

Emerson said that he was caught off-guard by the surge in participation in the 11- and 14-year-olds’ age groups.

“I didn’t plan on having to use two fields for the 11s. But that’s a good problem to have,” Emerson said with a smile. “I just think we got the word out quicker.”

Getting word out about the tournament is something the Vicksburg Parks and Recreation Department is also hoping to do this weekend.

As part of a program to help tourists, the department will operate a small radio station from Halls Ferry Park this weekend.

The temporary station, which will broadcast on 90.5 FM, will carry prerecorded information and updates on the Governor’s Cup. The signal will be available within an approximate one-mile radius of Halls Ferry Park.

The Governor’s Cup is the first major event the signal will be used for.

“It’s just something new, something different,” Parks and Recreation Director Craig Upton said. “It’s just another way of trying to update the tournament and make it better.”

The tournament has doubled in size since it came to Vicksburg from Madison in 1995.

“Each year it gets bigger and bigger, and it truly is the biggest tournament in Mississippi,” Emerson said. “It’s that big. Not many tournaments can say they have 62 teams. I think about 70 teams is about the most we can handle. There’s some age groups that aren’t full, and if they were we’d be pushing it.”