Alcorn State softball team to play in Vicksburg on Friday

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, February 13, 2019

When winter begins, birds fly south. When it’s over, Alcorn State’s softball team heads north.

For the third year in a row, the Lady Braves will play a pair of games at Vicksburg High School’s Softball Swamp field when they take on Kentucky State on Friday. The doubleheader begins at 5:30 p.m.

Admission for the doubleheader is $4, or $2 for students. Children ages 6 and under are admitted free.

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The early-season stop in Vicksburg is fast becoming a tradition for the program, Alcorn State head coach Josef Rankin said, and is a good way to generate fan support beyond those that are able to travel to Lorman for afternoon home games.

“We have some challenges with our campus facility and the absence of lights. We have to play during the day,” Rankin said. “And it gives us an opportunity to play in front of the community. We’ve had some travel ball teams come out and watch the players, which they don’t always get to see us.”

Vicksburg softball coach Brian Ellis echoed those thoughts. He called hosting the game a win-win for everyone involved, where local players get to see the game played at a high level and Alcorn can expose its program to potential recruits and fans.

“They get to see the college game. The speed of the college game vs. the speed of the high school game. It puts a boost in them, too, if they want to get to that point,” Ellis said. “And the other thing is bringing the game to the city. That’s a huge thing for me. It’s about growing the game in the city of Vicksburg. Vicksburg is Alcorn’s hometown, basically. It allows them to come here and play in front of a home crowd. There’s a lot of alumni here and everything.”

This is the 11th year in a row that Alcorn State and Kentucky State have played each other, and the third time the Thorobreds and Lady Braves have played in Vicksburg. Kentucky State, as most northern teams do, usually opens the season with a road trip to the South.

Kentucky State played in a tournament in Georgia last weekend, and will play at Mississippi College on Wednesday. It will also play a single game on Alcorn’s campus Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

Alcorn, meanwhile, opened the 2019 season by getting swept in a two-game series against North Alabama last week in Lorman. It leads the all-time series with Kentucky State 16-2.

Alcorn has won the Southwestern Athletic Conference East Division championship the past two years and has had three consecutive winning seasons for the first time in the program’s 22-year history. Rankin said some turnover has left the Lady Braves with a young roster, however, that they’re trying to break in during the early part of the season.

Pitcher Paige Taylor and infielder Victoria Tyler are the only two seniors on the roster. Tyler needs four hits to reach 100 for her college career.

“We’re still pretty young. We only have two seniors and 10 newcomers,” Rankin said. “We’re just trying to work to get a little better playing with one another. There were some good things we saw last weekend, and we’re looking to build off of that this week.”

• Friday, 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
• At Vicksburg High’s Softball Swamp field
• Admission: $4

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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