JACKSON, TN - The sight of the infield dirt receiving a fresh drag, and the foul lines being chalked could only mean one thing; baseball was making its long-awaited return to The Ballpark at Jackson. It was not the Jackson Generals taking the field, as many would expect in mid-June,
JACKSON, TN - The sight of the infield dirt receiving a fresh drag, and the foul lines being chalked could only mean one thing; baseball was making its long-awaited return to The Ballpark at Jackson. It was not the Jackson Generals taking the field, as many would expect in mid-June, but instead travel ball teams, relishing the return of the game after losing much of their high school seasons.
In early June, the Jackson Generals announced a partnership with Net Elite Baseball and Pastime Tournaments to bring high school aged travel ball tournaments to The Ballpark at Jackson through July. The first Net Elite Tournament received so much interest, that tournament directors expanded the field from 16 to 18 teams.
"It was great to host our first tournament with 18 teams from all around the mid-south,” said Jackson Generals GM Marcus Sabata. “The enjoyment and excitement that the kids and coaches expressed with the opportunity to play at 'the big park' was music to our baseball-loving ears.”
Union University also utilized their campus ballpark for the weekend tournament, giving young ballplayers a glimpse of the collegiate experience. Tanner Wessling, an assistant coach for the Union University baseball program, helped oversee the two sites and was pleased with the fluidity of the first tournament.
“It has been awesome to have a lot of people on campus to see [Union] facilities and we’ve received a lot of compliments,” Wessling said. “Everybody at the Generals has been very helpful as well over the weekend and it has been a great experience.”
Managing health and safety was a key responsibility for Generals staff, amplified by an expansion of the tournament field and increased attendance. Hand sanitizer stations were posted throughout The Ballpark at Jackson and concessions were limited to pre-packaged items.
“Although we have plenty of safety guidelines in place, it feels good to get back to a sense of normalcy,” said Sabata. “We look forward to hosting several additional tournaments and events throughout the summer."
Pastime Tournaments is scheduled to host the next tournament in Jackson, running from June 18th-21th. The slate of events is booked through August 2nd, and is expected to bring over $3.2 million dollars of local economic spending, according to an estimation by visitjacksontn.com.
Meanwhile, the return of the Minor League Baseball season still remains in question, and the Generals are adjusting to house additional events to the Ballpark over the summer. A Father’s Day movie night and fireworks show is scheduled for Saturday, June 20th, and Snoop Dogg is booked for a concert on Monday, July 20th. Tickets to both of those events are available online at jacksongeneralsbaseball.com. The neighboring SportsPlex also opened its gates to the public over the weekend, helping add to the economic uptick of the area.
Scheduling and registration information on all upcoming tournaments is available at netelitebaseball.com and pastimeotournaments.com.