Alcorn State, JSU begin softball season Friday in Vicksburg

Published 12:55 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Once again, the college softball season starts in Vicksburg.

For the fourth year in a row, Alcorn State and Jackson State will team up to host the River City Classic this weekend at Sports Force Parks. Seven teams will come to Vicksburg for the three-day event.

Alcorn State and Jackson State play the first game Friday at 11 a.m.

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“Every year Alcorn State and Jackson State do a tournament in Vicksburg and come together. It’s like a first home game for both teams,” said Eugenia Fernandez, who will make her debut as Alcorn State’s head coach. “To be an opening tournament is good, because people from the school can go and see us, how we play and how we do.”

Alcorn State started playing early-season games in Vicksburg in 2017 as a way to showcase the program beyond the campus in Lorman. The River City Classic was created in 2020, after Sports Force Parks opened, and this year’s event will include seven teams.

In addition to Alcorn and JSU, Southeastern Baptist College, Alabama A&M, Grambling, Tennessee State and Xavier University of New Orleans will be in action. Each team will play either three or four games.

Alcorn plays twice on Friday — its morning game vs. Jackson State, and then against Southeastern Baptist at 2 p.m.. Its final game is Saturday at 4 p.m. vs. Alabama A&M.

Jackson State plays twice on Saturday, vs. Southeastern Baptist at 10 a.m. and Tennessee State at noon.

“We’ve been working hard since I’ve been here,” said Fernandez, who was hired in November. “I believe the girls are ready to play and anxious to play. They are ready to play a game — not a scrimmage, a game — and see if they are doing the right things.”

The River City Classic also kicks off college softball’s February “tournament season,” when a number of teams gather each weekend to play several different opponents rather than normal weekend series.

Jackson State plays a tournament in Baton Rouge Feb. 18-19, and will host one Feb. 25-26.

Alcorn will play in tournaments at Southern Miss and Central Arkansas, and an HBCU event in Montgomery, Alabama, before hosting Arkansas-Pine Bluff in its first Southwestern Athletic Conference series March 10-11.

The Lady Braves also have two midweek road games at Louisiana-Monroe (Feb. 15) and Nicholls State (Feb. 22) sprinkled in over the next month.

“Playing four games will show if we are on the right path with what we are doing, or if we can change things up a little bit or what we can improve on,” Fernandez said. “Four games in a weekend is the perfect amount of games to see where we are at at that point in time.”

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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