Jackson alumni game returns

Published 6:20 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Poplarville PTA will be sponsoring the Pete Jackson Alumni Softball Game Saturday at the Poplarville High School softball field, beginning with opening ceremonies at 9:30 a.m. All proceeds from this event will be used to fund the Pete Jackson Memorial Scholarship.

Cost of admission is $3 per person school age and up.

The man affectionately called, “Mr. Pete” by his players and students began coaching softball at Poplarville High School in 1992. Initially, Coach Jackson began the alumni softball involvement around 1999, when he brought in former softball players to play his high school team in preparation for the upcoming season.

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He mentioned several times over the course of the next couple of years his desire to have an “old timers” game in which his former players played his present players.

Pete Jackson passed away unexpectedly on Aug. 1, 2001, just one week before beginning the fall slow pitch season. Hence, the Pete Jackson Alumni Softball Game was born to honor him and his contribution to Lady Hornet softball during his ten years as head coach.

The first game was played in October 2001, followed by a second in November 2002, but the May 2004 contest was canceled due to rain and timing conflicts prevented play in 2005.

This fundraiser supports the Pete Jackson Scholarship fund. The fundraiser has evolved from a game played by Lady Hornet alumni versus the current high school team to a tournament involving surrounding high school rivalry teams as of this year.

Traditionally, the PHS Alumni display the number 39 in black on the left sleeve, representative of Mr. Pete’s jersey number. Although Coach Jackson is most known for his contribution to softball and his instrumental role in the establishment of the current PHS softball field from the ground up, he also spent time serving as the head baseball coach as well as head golf coach during his tenure at PHS.

Coach Jackson’s accolades as head softball coach include: District 8-3A Championships in slow pitch in 1993 and 1994; District 8 Division 7 1A-2A-3A fast pitch in 2001; and South State Championship and State Runner-Up titles in 1993. Coach Jackson received Coach of the Year Honors by the Hattiesburg American in the spring of 2001.