Softball tournament benefits a great cause

Published 8:00 am Thursday, October 11, 2018

For most of the spring and summer, and even part of fall, Halls Ferry Park and the Betty Hearn Softball Complex are abuzz with the sounds of softball. Chants and songs and the ping of bats all bring life to the place.

It’s often softball for softball’s sake. Tournament and recreational teams play for trophies and glory, or simply to improve. This weekend, however, they’re all playing for something bigger than that.

The Rip Tide travel team is partnering with The Exchange Club of Vicksburg Child and Parent Center for the “Strike Out Child Abuse” tournament. All of the proceeds — every dime from tournament entry fees, corporate sponsorships, concessions, admission fees and donations — will go to the CAP Center.

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Mike Foley, the Rip Tide’s coach and president of the Vicksburg Girls Softball Association, said the final tally could end up topping $6,000.

The CAP Center, which opened in 1985, is a non-profit agency committed to preventing child abuse and neglect.

“The corporate sponsor deal has been big. They have gotten more than 25 sponsors. They raised $3,500 in sponsorship money before the tournament is even played,” Foley said. “I’m really happy with the community involvement and the sponsorship we’ve gotten.”

The tournament, which includes games in the 8U, 10U and 12U divisions, begins at 9 a.m. at Halls Ferry Park and the Betty Hearn Complex and will continue all day. Admission is $6, and children 5 and under are admitted free. Donation boxes will also be set up around the park for fans to give a little extra for the cause.

Foley said 10 teams were signed up as of Tuesday and he was hoping to expand it to 16 with a simple sales pitch.

“What I’ve been stressing in our calls and text messages is that this is a benefit tournament,” Foley said. “You’re not coming to help Rip Tide make money. You’re coming to play for a cause.”

It’s a busy Saturday in Vicksburg. The Over the River Run is set for Saturday morning, the Red Carpet Bowl golf tournament is being played at the Vicksburg Country Club, and there’s the usual smorgasbord of college football games to gorge on throughout the day. All of them serve good causes in one form or another.

Time is tight. If you get some time and have a few extra bucks burning a hole in your pocket, however, go check out a softball game. You’ll be helping a good cause and you might even learn a song or two.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post.

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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