By Daniel Brunty
The Webster Progress -Times
Baseball in the summer is a rich tradition here in Eupora, and most people remember watching games in the park when they were younger. Back then baseball was one of the only sports that was played during that time.
Now, with the addition of the James O. Gary Sportsplex (Gary Park), children can choose to play from a wide array of sports. Now children transcend from one sport to the next, leaving little time between for anything else. With these new sports comes new traditions that will soon be a normal part of the town.
Park Director John Prather gave an update on the events taking place at the park at this time, as well as upcoming events that the community should be aware of.
“At this time we are concluding the City League Youth baseball and softball seasons,” Prather said. “We will be hosting a Dizzy Dean Warm-up Tournament on Aug. 29 that should be a huge event. It will have teams from all around the state. At this time, we do not know how many teams will participate.”
Something that has become a staple in small towns in Mississippi is peewee football. The city park program has embraced the sport and incorporated it into its fold. The Eupora Park and Recreation Department is now preparing for another season of Eupora peewee football.
“We are going into sign-ups for first- through sixth-grade football starting July 15 through Aug. 9,” Prather said. “First and second grade will be flag football. We then will have a third- and fourth-grade team, as well as a fifth- and sixth-grade team.”
In its second year, Eupora peewee football is a collaboration between the Eupora schools and city. “We will be playing area towns such as Calhoun City, Vardaman, Pontotoc, Bruce,” Prather said. “It is a league that is set up with a regular season, playoffs and Super Bowl. Basically the whole nine yards.”
Another realm of the sports world that the park program is helping conquer is the frontier of soccer. With little-known popularity in most Southern areas, the community has responded well with attendance and sign-ups.
“We will also start having soccer sign-ups sometime around August,” Prather said. “We do not have specific dates at this time, however. That will be played every Monday and Thursday night, and tackle football will be played on Thursdays or Saturdays.”
With all the new sports that are available, park personnel have made Spud Stennett almost an extension of Gary Park. Football and soccer are played there, as well some baseball and softball every now and then.
The park is steady in a process of expansion as new batting cages have been built there. With Eupora’s rich tradition of baseball in its blood, this batting cage will help mold players of the future into solid players.
Park personnel hope that funds and donations will keep coming to allow projects like the batting cages and others to become and reality.
Anyone with questions regarding Eupora peewee football or soccer registration may call Prather at 552-2529. One may also visit www.euporagarypark.com for information and events upcoming at the James O. Gary Sportsplex.