Alcorn softball returns to Vicksburg tonight

Published 8:00 am Thursday, February 15, 2018

College softball is something of a foreign sport in Mississippi. The state’s biggest teams at Ole Miss and Mississippi State barely have any in-state players on the roster, making it hard to follow high school stars to the next level like we do in other sports.

Junior college teams have more familiar faces, but tend to play in front of small on-campus crowds in the middle of the day. The same goes for the state’s smaller four-year college teams.

On Thursday, however, one of them will bring the party to us.

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Alcorn State will play a doubleheader against Kentucky State at 5:15 p.m. at Vicksburg High’s Softball Swamp field on Army Navy Drive. Admission is $4, and Alcorn and Vicksburg Warren School District students get in free with a current ID badge.

This is the second year in a row that Alcorn has played its “home opener” in Vicksburg. A couple hundred fans turned out for last year’s game.

Playing in Vicksburg is mutually beneficial for Alcorn and for the city’s softball players, Vicksburg High coach Brian Ellis said. It’s an opportunity for fans and young players to see the sport played at a high level, and for Alcorn fans to come root for their school.

“Vicksburg is basically Alcorn’s town, so it’s a chance to give people a chance to see Alcorn play softball,” Ellis said. “For me and for softball in Vicksburg, it’s great. You see it on TV, but a lot of people don’t get to see it live. The girls that are playing get to see it at a Division I level.”

This could also be just the beginning. After the success of last year’s game, there were preliminary plans to expand it from a single doubleheader to a multiple-day tournament involving several teams. Those fell through for 2018, but Ellis said it is something he’s still hopeful can be arranged in the coming years.

An early-season softball game between two small Division I teams is not exactly the same as hosting the SEC football championship game in terms of drawing power, but it’s still kind of neat. Alcorn has often played in Vicksburg in several sports — its golf team is based at Clear Creek Golf Course and the tennis team is a regular visitor — but it’s still not every day we get a Division I game around here.

So let’s keep it going, Vicksburg. Turn out to support the Lady Braves, and Vicksburg High, and let’s change college softball from a foreign sport to our sport.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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