Baseball tourney hoping for dry skies

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Few in Vicksburg will be watching the weather today as closely as Jeff Collins, director of the Governor’s Cup youth baseball tournament scheduled to begin on Friday night at Halls Ferry Park. 

“It’s not looking good. If it continues like this for the next night or two, we’re probably done,” Collins said this morning. “We’re going to give it until Friday morning and see if things have cleared up by then, and if they don’t, I’m probably going to contact all the teams and see if there’s a possibility of coming back another weekend.”

Since midnight, 2.37 inches had fallen on Halls Ferry Park as of 8 a.m. today, according to a weather station installed at the park by the City of Vicksburg. The station, along with three others placed through the city, relays real time weather data online at A total of 1.86 inches of rain fell on the park from Sunday through Tuesday.

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“If the rain was to stop sometime today and was only very minimal through Friday, I think we could work with it,” Collins said.

But that’s not in the forecast. A 40 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms exists today and Thursday, while Friday carries a 50 percent chance of storms. Even if the games go on, there’s a 30 percent chance of showers on Saturday and Sunday.

The first pitch of the two-weekend youth baseball tournament is to take place at 6 p.m. Friday with games in five age groups — 6-, 8-, 9-, 11- and 14-year-olds. Teams in the 7-, 10-, 12-, 13- and 16-year-olds’ division will play the following weekend. About 45 teams have registered thus far for the first weekend of play, down slightly from recent years. An equal number of teams is registered to play the following weekend.

Collins admitted rescheduling an entire weekend of games would prove difficult. The tournament is already being held a week later than in years past, and school will be back in session by the tournament’s second weekend of play as it is.

“I know it’s difficult for parents this time of year with school starting and football practice beginning. We would probably look at rescheduling it for the weekend after the second weekend,” Collins said. “It’s a tough spot. You don’t want to wait too long to call it, but you don’t want to call it off too soon in case the sun comes out. We’ll have to play it by ear and see what happens.” 

Since the tournament moved to Vicksburg in 1995 after a three-year run in Madison, thunderstorms and the accompanying delays they bring have been as big a part of the Governor’s Cup as the teams on the field. It wasn’t until last year, however, that an entire day was lost because of rain.

A total of 20 games were postponed on the opening night of the 2008 tournament. Organizers were able to play the entire tournament in two days by starting as early as 8 a.m. the next day, going a little later into the night, and shortening both the length of games and the breaks in between games.

Collins, in his first year as tournament director, said similar plans would be considered if rain again becomes a factor. If the entire tournament is washed out, there may not be a chance for a do-over. Another full slate of games is scheduled for next weekend in five different age groups, and with the start of the school year fast approaching a lot of teams are preparing to disband for the summer after they play in the Governor’s Cup.


Contact Ernest Bowker at