Local teams join forces again to host spring break tournament

Published 8:00 pm Sunday, March 11, 2018

It hasn’t taken long for Vicksburg to become a spring break destination for high school baseball teams.

Vicksburg High, Porter’s Chapel Academy and St. Aloysius will host a spring break tournament for the second year in a row. The event has a new name — “The Battle on the River” — and has doubled in size from eight to 17 teams, with plans to eventually expand to as many as 40 teams.

Games begin at 10 a.m. Monday at Bazinsky Field and PCA’s Pierce Field. The tournament continues Tuesday and Wednesday, with St. Al and Vicksburg squaring off in the finale Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Bazinsky Field.

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The tournament fills an important void, as the only one in Central Mississippi.

The biggest advantage of the tournament is just for teams to get a little more experience under their belt in a season that has been torn apart by inclement weather so far.

“It’s going to be real important for all of us to get games,” said Vicksburg coach Derrick DeWald, who initially started the tournament. “It’s going to be huge for everybody involved.”

In addition to the extra games, it also creates some unique matchups. The 17-team field is an eclectic mix of public and private schools ranging from some of the state’s biggest classifications to the smallest, and from all over the state.

Among the schools coming to play are Wayne County, Greenville, West Bolivar, Franklin Academy, Clinton Christian, Bayou Academy, Tylertown and more.

“It’s a different competition that a lot of times you might not play during the year, or against teams that you might not originally schedule during the year,” Porter’s Chapel coach Wade Patrick said. “So that’s the main thing, getting games in and doing it against good competition also.”

St. Al coach Sid Naron also was excited about the teams traveling in for the tournament.

“We have some quality teams coming in. We’re excited to compete, we’re excited to see some quality pitching and feel like it’s a great opportunity for our team to grow,” Naron said.

Each game will be limited to a time limit of 2 hours and 15 minutes or seven innings, whichever comes first.

The games are especially beneficial for the teams from Vicksburg, who will have a little homefield advantage this week.

“The good part about it is, it’s at home for us, so we don’t have to travel for spring break,” DeWald said. “We make good money in the concession stands.”

The tournament even benefits the city itself.

“It helps the local businesses. You’ve got to come and eat, some of the teams that are traveling down are going to stay in hotels, so it just helps the local economy as well,” DeWald said.
DeWald said the key for the tournament to continue and grow was in the scheduling and making sure it was a great experience for the coaches and their players.

“You have to know teams’ strengths and weaknesses, and you have to be able to put teams up against each other who can be competitive,” DeWald said. “You want to make sure the hospitality, you treat the coaches right, everything has to play into it to grow it.

“We’re trying to get the teams that are here to keep coming back next year and just do it by word of mouth as well,” DeWald said. “If they’re satisfied, and they want to come back and feel like it’s a good opportunity to play against three teams that they can compete against, and we do our part to make everything run right, then they are apt to come back.”

Battle on the River schedule
p-At Porter’s Chapel Academy
b-at Bazinsky Field
b-1 p.m. – Yazoo City vs. West Lincoln
p-2 p.m. – ACCS vs. West Bolivar
b-3 p.m. – West Lincoln vs. Raymond
p-4 p.m. – ACCS vs. Rosa Fort
b-5 p.m. – Tri-County vs. Raymond
p-6 p.m. – Greenville vs. Bayou Academy
b-7 p.m. – Tri-County vs. St. Aloysius
b-10 a.m. – ACCS vs. Park Place
p-10 a.m. – Bayou Academy vs. Tri-County
b-12:30 p.m. – West Bolivar vs. Park Place
p-12:30 p.m. – Clinton Christian vs. Yazoo City
b-3 p.m. – West Bolivar vs. Vicksburg
p-3 p.m. – Clinton Christian vs. Bayou Academy
b-5:30 p.m. – Greenville vs. St. Aloysius
p-5:30 p.m. – Rosa Fort vs. Franklin Academy
p-10 a.m. – Rosa Fort vs. Porter’s Chapel
b-12:30 p.m. – Wayne County vs. Vicksburg
p-12:30 p.m. – Franklin Academy vs. Park Place
b-3 p.m. – Wayne County vs. Tylertown
p-3 p.m. – Franklin Academy vs. Porter’s Chapel
b-5:30 p.m. – Vicksburg vs. St. Aloysius
p-5:30 p.m. – Yazoo City vs. Greenville