NHS softball tourney a success

Published 2:01 am Sunday, June 13, 2010

NATCHEZ — Midway through Saturday’s second annual Natchez High Blue and Gold Extravaganza held at Chester Willis Field, Natchez High Touchdown Club vice president Gene Banks was thrilled about how the tournament was going.

The fundraiser to help members of Natchez High’s football team, especially the linemen, attend upcoming summer camps took place despite even though the temperature was in the 90s and the heat index was over 100 degrees before noon.

“It’s going great. We’ve got great participation. The money raised today will go to head coach Lance Reed’s linemen going to Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston,” Banks said. “They’ll be going Sunday through Wednesday morning and they’ll be returning Wednesday afternoon. About 15 schools from across the state will be there.”

Which was why Banks said he had no intentions of postponing the tournament due to the heat. Only if there was bad weather.

“We’ve had quite a few people come in and out. We’ve had several players from college who’ve come out to play as well as current players,” Reed said. “It’s a fun time. It’s for a good cause.”

Last year’s inaugural tournament raised about $1,500. Banks noted that as of 2:30 p.m., the Touchdown Booster Club was getting close to reaching that goal. He added that it may go higher than that.

“The money raised today and the donations from the Touchdown Booster Club should be enough for the players to go to camp,” Banks said.

The Touchdown Booster Club was getting defeated by a team from the Natchez Police Department 15-1 in the third inning. The first game of the day was supposed to have been between the T.M. Jennings Little League and a Natchez Dixie Youth select team coached by Lee Ford. However, the Dixie Youth team had a prior engagement and the Concordia Parish 11-12-year-old All-Star team took its place.

And it was a good game with the T.M. Jennings Little League team taking a 4-3 win. A team that played in this tournament was Paper Dolls, a girls team, which defeated their trophy game over a team of T.M. Jennings Little League parents before having to go play in a tournament in Jonesville, La.

“Concessions are running well. Three more teams are coming,” Banks said. “We’ll be here until 7 or 8 o’clock. If teams aren’t full, we’re filling them in with Natchez High football players. We’ve got a couple of ice bags. We’ve got medical personnel here. We’ve got the athletic director, Fred Butcher, here. He’s umpired a couple of games already. We’ve had full support from the community.”

As for the turnout itself, Reed said, “We’ve had several people here. They’re having a ball. Community building is a big part of what we’re trying to do here. Fatigue is starting to set in. But it’s well worth it.”

Melvin Davis, who was president of the Touchdown Booster Club a year ago and a player on the team, added, “It’s a fun event. Something for the community to get involved with. It’s a good turnout. It’s a beautiful day, but it’s a little hot. I’m glad it didn’t rain. . I want to thank everyone who participated and helped out. It’s a fun day.

“I want to thank the fans who brought the T.M. Jennings Little League and the Concordia Parish Little League. They got the day started. Even though it’s hot, it’s beautiful.”