Numbers sag for 2010 Governor’s Cup

Published 12:05 pm Thursday, July 29, 2010

Team numbers are down going into the first weekend of the Governor’s Cup, which starts Friday at Bazinsky Field and Halls Ferry Park.

The first weekend of the tournament, run by the Vicksburg Warren Athletic Association, continues Saturday and Sunday.

Tournament director Sherman Simpson said the economy has played a role.

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“With the economy being the way it is, we’ve tried to stay away from Friday night games and play mostly on Saturday and Sunday to help with travel expenses,” Simpson said.

Forty-one teams have signed up for the first weekend of the tournament and the deadline for registration for next weekend is Tuesday. For next weekend’s games, 30 teams have committed and more will likely register before the deadline.

Odd-numbered age groups from 5 to 13 will play next weekend. This weekend is for the even-numbered age groups, and some teams will play both weekends.

“Our younger age groups didn’t make as well as in years past,” Simpson said. “In years past, in the 12-year-olds’ bracket, we had to turn teams away. The 6s and the 8s are small this year.”

One classification lacking in teams is the 14-year-olds’ bracket, which only has three. Simpson is hoping to get a late call from another team to fill it out. If that doesn’t happen, the three teams will play an abbreviated tournament.

There are some bright spots.

The 10- and 12-year-olds’ divisions were filled to capacity after a slow start leading up to this week.

The 16-year-olds’ bracket, which normally has around six teams, swelled to eight for this year’s tournament.

“Eight teams is very large for them,” Simpson said.

Registration is still ongoing for next weekend’s tournament and Simpson is hopeful the numbers will increase as the weekend looms closer.

“I think with there being another week, it gives teams a little more time,” Simpson said. “A lot of these all-star teams are last-minute because they want to ensure they have enough kids to play.”

One key that will help the tournament is the hot and dry forecast. Temperatures in the triple digits are forecast for Saturday and Sunday, and the water-filled coolers provided for the teams in each dugout will be much appreciated.

Even if rain threatens the tournament, contingency plans to adapt the schedule and the help of city maintenance crews for the fields will ensure the show goes on.

“Before, we had the Friday night games and that gave us a bit of a cushion to cover rainouts. But if we have to, we can start a little earlier on Sunday,” Simpson said. “(Vicksburg parks and recreation director) Joe Graves assured us that city crews will be available throughout the weekend and the job they’ve done so far has been tremendous.”