Locale of Class 5A baseball playoffs deprives local fans

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 20, 2006

April 20, 2006.

OK, so the baseball playoff schedule for Class 5A was designed by the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

It requires traveling 230 miles for a game matching two teams whose schools are five miles apart. It is ridiculous.

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Of course there wasn’t much thought put into designing a logical, competitive tournament, but remember, this is not football and this is not an MHSAA cash cow.

The state’s athletic governing body, at the behest of some coaches, designed a playoff system that would incorporate 24 teams into a two-tier, 12-team playoff system. NASA scientists would scoff at such a notion.

It’s here, though, so everyone now has to make the best of a lousy situation.

There are silver linings in the dark playoff cloud. For starters, it’s the first time in recent memory, or maybe ever, that Vicksburg and Warren Central have met in the postseason. Many times both schools have had talented teams, but just did not meet after the regular-season schedules.

Whenever these schools compete – coaches will say in anything from football to marbles – the effort is a little greater. We should expect the same today at Southaven High.

The Chargers’ home field is not the most ideal place to play a game. One year, large tractor ruts turned the outfield into an obstacle course. The school is situated near Memphis International Airport and FedEx planes land constantly.

It is, though, a two-day break from school for the players and will have a college regional feel to it.

So the bad outweighs the good. We will all survive. It also got me dreaming of a perfect end to a crazy weekend.

Have both Vicksburg and Warren Central take care of Southaven early, setting up a Friday night matchup between the two rivals.

Then the rains will come, washing out a Friday night championship game.

With the host team already sent packing, Warren Central coach Randy Broome and Vicksburg’s Jamie Creel will agree to scrap the Southaven idea, have a coin flip to see which team will be designated the home squad, then board the buses for home.

On Saturday afternoon, the Gators and Vikings will battle on a local field for the right to continue on in the playoffs. The crowds will be outrageous and the baseball will be superior.

When these two meet, it’s always an event. Only a handful would get to watch it in person in extreme North Mississippi. Too bad the latter is only a dream.

It would be mighty fun to finally have a Vicksburg-Warren Central postseason playoff game to attend – in Warren County.