Summer baseball tourneys help players stay in shape

Published 12:37 am Wednesday, June 3, 2009

NATCHEZ — High school baseball season might have ended about a month ago, but several area teams are trying to stay sharp by participating in summer tournaments.

Cathedral is hosting two tournaments in the area, one this weekend and one next weekend, and Green Wave coach Craig Beesley said several area teams have jumped at the chance to participate.

“This is the sixth year we’ve had a summer tournament,” Beesley said. “It started off as just local teams participating and has grown from there. We’ve got a couple of new teams participating this year.”

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In fact, there is so much interest that Cathedral has teamed up with Adams County Christian to host a second tournament.

“Usually some other schools host some other tournaments around us, but this year no one else was,” Beesley said. “Teams called us and wanted in the tournament and there was no room for them. So we decided to have another one the next weekend.”

New teams participating in the tournament include Centreville, which will join Monterey, Vidalia, WCCA and Cathedral in the Cathedral Summer Tournament this Friday and Saturday.

All of the games this weekend will take place at Chester Willis Field

Next week’s tournament is called the Camp of Champions Baseball Tournament and is hosted by Cathedral and ACCS.

River Oaks will make its first appearance in a summer tournament in Natchez, and will join ACCS, Franklin County, Centreville and Cathedral in the tourney, which will take place on June 12 and 13.

Most of the games will take place at Chester Willis Field, but two games on Saturday will take place at ACCS.

Both tournaments are only for players who are returning next season. Recently graduated seniors aren’t allowed to play. No traveling teams are allowed to participate either.

Beesley said the tournaments seem to get bigger and better every summer.

“It’s always a good turnout by the fans,” Beesley said. “Kids enjoy playing against teams they don’t get to play against in high school games.”

And it also allows teams to stay sharp in the summer months after the high school season has ended, Vidalia baseball coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said.

“This is what next year’s team is going to be,” Hoffpauir said. “It lets them stay in the baseball mode a little longer. Hopefully they’ll take it seriously and play it right. That’s the key to it.”

And Hoffpauir said the way the players perform in the summer will have an effect on the way the team shakes out when the season starts.

“Some of these kids probably don’t realize is how they do this summer is how they do when the season starts,” Hoffpauir said. “When we come into the first practices and the depth chart comes out, it will mean a lot in that case.”