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Vidalia Recreation Complex ready to play ball

VIDALIA — A series of informational meetings has generated interest from several groups wanting to bring tournaments and other events to the Vidalia recreation complex.

Parks and Recreation Director Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said a meeting with the U.S. Tennis Association last month was a good first step in getting the word out about what the complex has to offer.

“Those meetings were strictly to gather information, so I can take the different ideas from the groups to the recreation board for their approval,” Hoffpauir said. “There are two or three groups very interested in potentially bringing clinics, tournaments and organizing league play at the complex.”

While he declined to name the groups, Hoffpauir said two of the groups were from Louisiana and the other was a national group.

Once all the information is gathered, Hoffpauir said he will go before the Concordia Recreation District No. 3 board for a formal approval.

The 12 tennis courts located next to Vidalia City Hall are currently open for public use, Hoffpauir said.

The new complex, which was officially opened in December, also features nine ball fields, some of which can alternate as baseball or softball fields, and three basketball courts.

The ball fields, Hoffpauir said, have also been getting attention across the state and region with several events already scheduled for February.

Six colleges from Louisiana and Mississippi, including Louisiana College and Copiah-Lincoln Community College, have confirmed to attend an event that will showcase students in 11th and 12th grade from the region.

“Essentially, the colleges and some pro scouts come out and just watch while the kids showcase their skills through drills and other things,” Hoffpauir said. “I’ve contacted a lot of the coaches in the area and the state, and they all sounded very excited to bring their players out for the showcase.”

Hoffpauir said the event was originally scheduled for this weekend, but was postponed because of the heavy rains that swept across the Miss-Lou last week.

“We just want to let everything dry up and get the fields perfect before everyone comes out for that,” he said. “Once we get all that ready, we’ll set a definite date for the event.”

The fields will also host a college baseball game at 1 p.m. Feb. 9, when Pearl River Community College takes on Baton Rouge Community College.

And those local ball players in youth leagues waiting to hit the fields won’t have to wait too much longer, Hoffpauir said.

“Right now we’re getting the two fields ready for Vidalia High School softball and baseball teams to start practicing out there this week,” Hoffpauir said. “Once the youth leagues get their seasons started they’ll be out here too.

“This complex was built first and foremost for the youth of Vidalia, so any events we schedule will be based around games or events they have.”

Those not involved in league play and wanting to use the fields for pick up games will be able to do so within the next few weeks, Hoffpauir said.

“Any other games or events will be controlled and scheduled so as to not interfere with youth league or other games,” Hoffpauir said. “Once we figure out the price and method to schedule a field for play, we’ll get that information out.

“It’ll be the cheapest rental in town that’s for sure.”

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