Prep softball teams eye openers

Published 1:56 pm Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Prep softball season is on the verge of beginning yet another season.

Both Picayune and Poplarville will begin play on Friday, as each participates in the Playin’ for Laken High School Softball Classic at Friendship Park in Picayune.

The event is part of the third annual event that  takes place in memory of Laken Lumpkin, who died in a tragic accident two years ago at the age of eight.

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Alan Lumpkin, Laken’s dad and a longtime prep basketball coach, wanted to get prep softball teams involved in the annual fund-raiser for the foundation that bears his daughter’s name.

“We wanted to find a way to get the high school girls involved, and thought that the first weekend of the season when they play the classic games would be a perfect fit,” Lumpkin said. “It gives the local fans a chance to see both Picayune and Poplarville before the season really gets started.”

The opening ceremonies will be at 7 p.m., Friday on Field 7, and then Defending Class 4A champion Poplarville will take on Vancleave at 7:15 before Picayune meets Perry Central at 8:30.

Meanwhile, on field 6, better known as Laken Lumpkin Field, a home run derby will take place at the same time with divisions for high school girls, women and men.

On Saturday, the third annual co-ed softball tournament will take place beginning at 8 a.m., on three different fields.

The Playin’ for Laken Foundation provides college scholarships to local girls as well as contributing to other local charities and often helps pay registration fees for under privledged youth that want to play in local recreational sports leagues.

Veteran Picayune head coach Kristi Mitchell said that they hope to build the prep classic into an annual event and add more teams to the tourney next year.

Also, on Thursday, Meet the Lady Tide and the annual Maroon and White Game will take place at the Picayune Athletic Complex beginning at 6:00 pm. Admission is free. Coach Mitchell, Coach Courtney Dickens and the Lady Tide players will recognize the U8 Mississippi Tigers, the U10 Picayune Heat and the U12 Picayune Heat before the game.  Following the game the teams and parents will celebrate the success of all Picayune teams with a cake and ice cream social.