JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Advance Sports Braves batter Drew Brown, batting, connects on a pitch during the USSA game against the Louisiana Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT
Advance Sports Braves batter Drew Brown, batting, connects on a pitch during the USSA game against the Louisiana Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.

Having a field day: Travel baseball team loves new recreation fields

Published 12:00am Monday, March 4, 2013
Jay Sowers | The Natchez Democrat — Advance Sports Braves batter Vincent Knight Jr. sprints toward first base after connecting with a pitch during the USSSA game against the Louisiana Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.
Jay Sowers | The Natchez Democrat — Advance Sports Braves batter Vincent Knight Jr. sprints toward first base after connecting with a pitch during the USSSA game against the Louisiana Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Advance Sports Braves baserunner Peyton Fort, right, slides safely in to second base ahead of a cut-off throw during the United States Specialty Sports Association game against the Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Advance Sports Braves baserunner Peyton Fort, right, slides safely in to second base ahead of a cut-off throw during the United States Specialty Sports Association game against the Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Advance Sports Braves baserunner Peyton Fort races toward third base during the United States Specialty Sports Association game against the Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Advance Sports Braves baserunner Peyton Fort races toward third base during the United States Specialty Sports Association game against the Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Advance Sports Braves pitcher Caleb Smith unloads a pitch during the United States Specialty Sports Association game against the Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Advance Sports Braves pitcher Caleb Smith unloads a pitch during the United States Specialty Sports Association game against the Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.

VIDALIA — When you go 5-for-5, it’s hard to complain about the field.

JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Advance Sports Braves batter Drew Brown, batting, connects on a pitch during the USSA game against the Louisiana Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT
Advance Sports Braves batter Drew Brown, batting, connects on a pitch during the USSA game against the Louisiana Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.

Which is why Advance Sports Braves 10-year-old Rhett McDonald said he enjoys playing in the new Concordia Parish District 3 Recreation complex.

The Braves, a USSSA travel baseball team, hosted a 10-and-under and 12-and-under USSSA baseball tournament at the new complex this past weekend. In the Braves’ game against the Louisiana Thunder, McDonald got a hit in every at-bat. Having the added comfort of homefield advantage goes a long way in enjoying the field, he said.

“I like it because it’s right here in Vidalia,” McDonald said. “We don’t have to travel as far.”

Braves head coach Shaun McDonald said he was very impressed with the new complex after hosting a weekend tournament.

“They’re very nice ball fields,” Shaun said. “They compare to anything in the state. The design is nice.”

And it wasn’t just the hometown team that raved about the fields. Thunder head coach Jason Thompson said after his team’s game with the Braves that the experience was top-notch.

Jay Sowers | The Natchez Democrat — Advance Sports Braves batter Vincent Knight Jr. sprints toward first base after connecting with a pitch during the USSSA game against the Louisiana Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.
Jay Sowers | The Natchez Democrat — Advance Sports Braves batter Vincent Knight Jr. sprints toward first base after connecting with a pitch during the USSSA game against the Louisiana Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.

“This is a first-class tournament with first-class organization,” Thompson said. “Everything about it was super. The facility is unreal. I thought the umpires were great, cordial and consistent. The home team, the Braves, were first-class in everything they did. We look forward to coming back, and we’ll get others here with us, too.”

Shaun said he was happy to hear that the coach of a visiting team had such nice things to say about the complex.

“It’s a good feeling to listen to all the compliments and see what we have in Vidalia,” Shaun said.

Ten-year-old Sam Mosby, who plays outfield, third base and pitcher for the Braves, said the fields rank up there with the Cypress Mounds Baseball Complex in Baton Rouge. Cody Brown, 10, a pitcher, said he likes pitching off the mounds on the new fields.

“It’s better than the others, because it’s bigger, and I can balance on it,” Brown said.

JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Advance Sports Braves baserunner Peyton Fort, right, slides safely in to second base ahead of a cut-off throw during the United States Specialty Sports Association game against the Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Advance Sports Braves baserunner Peyton Fort, right, slides safely in to second base ahead of a cut-off throw during the United States Specialty Sports Association game against the Thunder on Saturday afternoon at the new recreation complex in Vidalia.

Vincent Knight, 10, who plays third base and left field, said he enjoys the smooth feel of the fields.

“They’re flat and comfortable,” Knight said. “The other fields are too hilly.”

Todd Ward, who helps manage the Thunder, also said the facilities at the new complex are top-notch.

“I’d rank it right up there with the best,” Ward said. “We’ve been to Cypress Mound, which is a really nice facility. This is a little smaller version of that, but the fields are in great shape, and we were very impressed.”

Shaun said it’s important that the hometown team now has a recreation complex to call home.

“We can compete more locally and play more games a year instead of having to travel so much,” Shaun said.

The Bayou Gators won 12-and-under tournament, while the Louisiana Bounty Hunters won the 10-and-under tournament. Rhett McDonald won the 10-and-under home run derby with eight home runs, with second place being won by Peyton Fort. Freddie Mango with the Gators won the 12-and-under home run derby.