By NEMS Daily Journal
It’s an enormous weekend of activities for the playing fields and facilities in Tupelo, the unofficial kickoff of the summer sports season.
“We’ve already started getting busy with activities, but this is the biggest weekend so far,” said Seth Gaines, Sports Development Director for the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This is the weekend that really fires up the summer season.”
Several of the events will be bringing in out-of-state teams and athletes, always a boost to the local economy.
As the action heats up, the forecast calls for a string of days with highs around 87, with a zero percent chance of rain – always a worry when teams are coming here from out of town.
A quick rundown of the major events:
Baseball: A USSSA event for ages 7 through 13, the Play The Game tournament, is scheduled to begin today the Ballard Park Baseball complex. It will bring together about 40 youth teams from the region, including visiting teams from Memphis, Alabama and Arkansas.
Softball: The J.T. Neeley Scholarship Tournament at the Veterans and Eastwood Complex is an ASA fast-pitch event with 26 teams in ages 7 through 14, including teams from Alabama and Tennessee.
Tennis: The 36th annual Charlie Close tennis tournament, a USTA sanctioned event, is set for Saturday through Sunday at Rob Leake City Park. Almost 80 players had signed up for the event.
Swimming: Also at the park, the Shockwave swimming team will be hosting a summer league meet with more than 150 youth swimmers.
Bowling: The state men’s bowling tournament continues this weekend at Rebelanes. Gaines said 10 to 12 teams will be in action all day Saturday and Sunday, making this the biggest weekend of the event’s run here.
Running: The Tie Dye Invitational 5K is set for Saturday at the Ballard Park cross country trail. Race day registration ($20) will begin at 7 a.m. “It’s a race that normally brings out 400 to 500 people,” Gaines said.
Track amp& Field: The Hershey Track amp& Field Games, for ages 9 through 14, are set for Saturday at Tupelo High School, starting at 10 a.m. (Registration closed on April 27.)
Next weekend could be almost as busy, Gaines said: “We have another baseball tournament, 40 teams in a state soccer tourney, a high school football combine and an adult softball tournament. It’s a busy time.”