Tourney at Culkin a success|[7/24/05]

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 25, 2005

The teams that came to Vicksburg for the first annual Culkin Classic at the Culkin Athletic Association complex withstood the hot summer sun in a bid to either get prepared for next week’s Governor’s Cup or just to get better.

Eight teams were broken into two divisions in the 8-and-under coach-pitch tournament. Four teams competed in a round robin 12-and-under tournament.

Tournament director Rick Smith was pleased with the number of teams and the smoothness of the two-day tournament.

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“It’s done good for our first time,” Smith said. “The only thing we might try different is to have it earlier. By this time in July, a lot of teams have quit for the summer.”

But for other programs, the Culkin Classic comes right in the middle of the schedule. At least five of the eight teams in the coach-pitch tournament will compete in next week’s Governor’s Cup at Halls Ferry Park.

Spencer Rhoten brought his team, the Diamond Cutters, from West Monroe to compete in the coach-pitch tournament.

“This is our kids’ first coach-pitch tournament of the summer. They’re coming off the pitching machine, so this is good experience for them. It gets us geared up for the Governors Cup and we’ll keep playing after that. We’re hosting a tournament in Monroe on Labor Day weekend.”

Another program making its first appearance at this level of a tournament is the newly-revived Mission 66 League.

League organizer Glen Palmer said he found out about the Culkin Classic and got the OK to enter the 12-and-under division.

“It’s been a good lesson for us,” Palmer said. “We got to play three games against some real good teams.

“We can’t afford to play in a tournament like the Governor’s Cup but this was right for us. We’re going to put on our own tournament in August. We think we can get 12 or so teams,” he said.

In the coach-pitch tournament, the Vicksburg Red Sox, a Vicksburg Baseball Association team, went 3-0. The second division had the Canton Fury compiling a 3-0 mark to finish first.

The 12-and-under tournament saw both the Warren Central Vikings and the Vicksburg Braves earn wins over the Culkin-based Mississippi Wildcats and Mission 66.