Governor’s Cup a wash|Unplayable fields force cancellation of Sunday’s action

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 3, 2009

The rain, rain that just wouldn’t go away forced the Governor’s Cup to try again some other day.

Tournament organizers canceled all of Sunday’s games after a heavy thunderstorm swept across Vicksburg on Saturday afternoon, leaving the fields at Halls Ferry Park in an unplayable state. It’s the second time in as many years that an entire day’s worth of games has been rained out, but the first time in the tournament’s 17-year history that the championship round was washed out.

Kristi Pantin, vice president of marketing for The Aquila Group, which runs the tournament, said the decision to cancel was made based on Saturday’s storm, poor field conditions and a forecast of more rain that never materialized. Only 0.03 inches of rain fell on Sunday in Vicksburg. Almost 2 inches of rain fell on Halls Ferry Park in a little over four hours on Saturday afternoon.

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“We sat next to the computer and looked at the radar and went back and forth like a seesaw,” Pantin said. “We would have had to start most of the age groups by 8 or 9 on Sunday morning to finish the tournament at a reasonable hour. And we were looking at hours of field work to even get to that point. People are starting school this week and we felt we needed to make a decision and not leave them in limbo.”

Most of the 46 teams in the tournament’s five age groups played two games before the rain hit on Saturday. Pantin said they would be given the option of receiving a partial refund of their $300 entry fee, or returning to Vicksburg to play the remaining games in the tournament.

Pantin said if enough teams show interest in playing the championship round, it would be set up as a one-day tournament on Aug. 15. A final decision will be made later this week.

A full second weekend of games, with teams from the 7-, 10-, 12-, 13- and 16-year-olds’ age groups is scheduled to begin on Friday night.

“We’ll have to have 60 percent participation to finish the tournament,” Pantin said.

Despite a week of stormy weather that swamped Halls Ferry Park with 6.45 inches of rain, according to an official weather station at the park, the tournament began as scheduled on Friday night. A full day of work by city crews and some small tarps had the fields a bit soggy, but ready to play on. Even after a brief shower on Friday night, it didn’t take more than a few minutes to clean up the fields.

Saturday’s storm was a different beast.

Thunder, lightning and torrential downpours pelted the complex for about 45 minutes. When it was over, 1.5 inches of rain had fallen and most of the fields were underwater. Tournament organizers had hoped to resume play on Sunday morning, but another burst of rain Saturday night and a 50 percent chance of Sunday storms that was forecast led them to cancel.

“We tried to do our anti-rain dance, but it didn’t work,” Pantin said with a laugh. “This was a tough, tough decision to make. Nobody hated it more than we did. ”

Although dozens of players and coaches left Vicksburg disappointed, some were happy to get at least a few games in. Rain has plagued Mississippi’s tournament circuit this summer and any baseball was better than no baseball.

“Before this year we never had any tournaments completely rained out. This year we’ve had four. It’s a hardship financially and mentally,” said Vicksburg Venom coach Todd Boolos, whose team finished its second Governor’s Cup game moments before the storm hit on Saturday.


Contact Ernest Bowker at