New sports complex already proving its worth

Published 8:00 am Thursday, February 21, 2019

There aren’t any cornfields at the new Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi. As far as we know — and hope — there aren’t any baseball-playing ghosts, either.
It has been built, though, and they are coming.

Vicksburg’s long-awaited sports complex opened last weekend and is already proving its usefulness. The facility was christened with a couple of small youth baseball and softball tournaments. As this rainy week has unfolded it’s become a desirable destination for older teams.

Hinds Community College moved a Wednesday doubleheader against Baton Rouge Community College to the complex. Hinds often plays at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson when its home field in Raymond is too wet, but this time opted to come to Vicksburg.

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Warren Central likely would have had to scrap its baseball and softball home openers on Thursday night because of the weather. Now it’ll get those games in because the artificial turf at Sports Force Parks lets them play on a dry field.
The Vicksburg Soccer Organization is planning to play some games out there on Thursday evening as well.

In a couple of weeks, Vicksburg High, St. Aloysius and Porter’s Chapel Academy will host a spring break baseball tournament with more than 20 teams. All of the games will be played at the new facility.

The variety of sports taking their turn at Sports Force Parks is a good sign. It shows the facility is a versatile one that can be a viable alternate venue for nearly any outdoor sport, on any level. Rainouts will still be a thing, of course, but “wet outs” where field and not weather conditions force a postponement should become rare in Vicksburg.

For Warren County residents, the complex has been a lot of things since the idea was first proposed almost 20 years ago. It’s been a beacon of hope. A political issue. A financial debacle and a running joke.

At long last it’s a reality. There are still a few finishing touches to be put on, and surely some operational kinks to sort out. There are things people will love about the place and things they’ll hate as time goes on. It hasn’t taken long, however, for the potential of the complex to show up — just by being in existence.

Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi is now a valuable community asset, not a dream. It’s about time.

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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