All-Star Warm Up Tournament preps young athletes for future games

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, June 18, 2019

For the first time in the organization’s history, the Poplarville Athletics Association hosted the All-Star Warm Up tournament this past weekend.

The tournament acted as a springboard for teams that were advancing to district and state tournaments.

“We just finished our regular season for youth baseball, and we had 3 teams that we picked for All-Stars,” said Martin Walker, the league’s acting secretary.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We hosted it to see where they were and get them ready for state and district.”

The tournament also included teams from surrounding communities

There was a total of 10 teams participated.

The teams consisted of very young athletes, ranging in age from 5 to 10.

Walker said that it’s beneficial for young children to be involved in sports from an early age for a variety of reasons.

“I think it helps with developing their love of the sport that they’re playing,” Walker said.

“It also gives kids something to do and is an avenue to stay out of trouble.”

The community turned out in a big way to support the kids.

Not only were there volunteer coaches, but there were also parents who ran the conceession stand, and the front gate of the tournament venue.

“We had a nice little crowd out there,” Walker said.

That wouldn’t have been the case in years past, but Walker said that their new Board of Directors has been focused on increasing community engagement.

“We’ve been trying to get more involvement and the new Board that took over a year ago has been trying to turn things around,” Walker said.

“Just the improvement between last football season and this baseball season is tremendous.”

Walker said the growth has been positive for the organization, and that the new Board has done a great job of getting things back on track.

“I think the Board that we had previously weren’t really transparent with what was going on,” Walker said.

“The new Board has everything out there on the table for everybody and even just in the park the improvements are there. Parents are starting to take notice.”

The increase in commitment from parents has even led to PAA considering the formation of a coed adult softball league.

Not only that, but PAA has been lucky enough to see a growing number of volunteers pitching in during events.

Walker says the organization is only where it is today because of those good Samaritans.

“The biggest thing is that whatever parents, volunteer coaches and whatever help we get really helps,” Walker said.

“Seeing parents step up helps kids see the parents involved in what the kids are wanting to do.”

“Volunteer help is a major part of us being successful.”