City hosts fast-pitch tourney|[07/03/08]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2008

Flowood’s loss has become the Vicksburg Softball Association’s gain. The United States Fast Pitch Association will play its Mississippi state tournament at Bazinsky and Halls Ferry Park beginning Friday afternoon.

Only one local team, the 16-and-under Vicksburg Blazers, is in the field of 40 teams that will compete in five age divisions.

USFA tournament director Jeff Strode said Vicksburg was a good “last minute” venue for its state tournament.

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“We were originally set to have it at the new park in Flowood but the city and the local YMCA had some issues and we had to make a last minute change,” Strode said. “We’ve had tournaments in Meridian and Tupelo and here in Gulfport but we wanted a centralized location. We started looking at the Jackson area and Clinton and then someone suggested we look at Vicksburg. We had heard they have hosted the Rumble on the River for the past couple of years and that it was a good tournament and there was a lot of available hotel space.”

Strode said 40 teams had committed to playing in Vicksburg. The 10-and-under division has seven teams, the 12s have seven, the 14s will have the largest group with 13 teams, while the 16s have nine and the 18-and-under has four.

“We could have two more in the 18s to give us five,” Strode said. “We’re still a pretty new organization in Mississippi. Last week we had our Alabama state tournament in Cullman and drew 170 teams,” Strode said.