Booneville, Miss. - Northeast Mississippi Community College's baseball and softball programs are preparing to finish another chapter in their rich history before turning the page to begin a bright new era.
Both the baseball and softball teams are set to play their final games ever at their long-time home facilities inside the Booneville City Park complex.
Northeast softball will be the first to do so on Saturday, April 27 when they entertain Copiah-Lincoln Community College. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. at David Carnell Memorial Field.
The baseball version of the Tigers welcome East Mississippi Community College for their finale at Harold T. White Field just three days later on Tuesday, April 30. A 2 p.m. first pitch is scheduled for that doubleheader.
Baseball has played at Harold T. White Field since its construction in the late 1980s. Softball moved to its present location of David Carnell Memorial Field while still participating against slow-pitch competition in 1997.
David Carnell Memorial Field was given its title in 2014 in honor of David Carnell, who served Northeast for parts of five decades in roles that varied from athletic director to the head coach of the baseball, football, softball and the now-defunct track and field programs.
The Tigers have a .634 winning percentage at David Carnell Memorial Field dating back to the 2003 season with 223 wins against just 129 losses, including a stellar 20-6 mark during the current campaign.
Harold T. White Field is named after the former Northeast president that served the college from 1965-87. He provided stability for the institution as a whole and was also a staunch supporter of athletics.
Northeast restarted the sports of baseball, football and women's basketball while adding for the first time in school history softball, tennis and track and field while under the steady leadership of White.
Postseason events are no stranger to both of Northeast's current venues. Harold T. White Field has hosted the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) state championship in 1992 and 2014 while David Carnell Memorial Field did the same in 2004.
Northeast's sophomores will also be honored as part of these festivities. The softball team will salute its upperclassmen between contests while baseball will do so prior to start of game one.
Sophomores for the softball program are Mackenzie Denton of Pontotoc, Callie Frazier of Blue Springs, Kelsie Gerhart of Columbus, Taylor Harris of Picayune, Austyn Holden of Coldwater, Leah Jones of Ecru, Jessica Lewellen of Pontotoc, Rebecca Sheffield of New Albany, Breanna Tarpley of Athens, Ala., Lizzy Van Manen of Pella, Iowa, and Caleigh Wallace of Killen, Ala.
"First and foremost, they're top-notch individuals and that shows in everything that they do," said Tigers head coach Jody Long. "They do anything and everything that we ask of them. They do an exemplary job of representing their families and the college in every aspect of their lives."
The sophomore class for the baseball team includes Jake Christa of Huntsville, Ala., Cooper Cox of Ripley, Dylan Gatlin of Olive Branch, Blake Goodin of Amory, Ty James of Iuka, Anthony Lipsey of Myrtle, Blaine Mercer of Kossuth, Braxton Miller of Petal, Austin Pearce of Hazel Green, Ala., Carter Roach of Starkville, Tyler Samaniego of Huntsville, Ala., Tanner Smith of Houston, Charles Spencer of Houston, Simmons Sowell of Strayhorn and Thomas Stevens of Columbus.
"They're just a fun group to be around," Tigers headman Richy Harrelson said. "We're going to miss them. I just hope that we can get more guys in here like them. They work hard and do their best. They're going to be successful in life."
Members of both the Carnell and White families will throw out the ceremonial first pitches on closing day at the respective stadiums that pay homage to their loved ones as well.
Construction on the "Field of Dreams" project is well underway. Both baseball and softball will move into their new state-of-the-art on-campus stadiums in time for the 2020 campaign.
The $8.16 million complex will feature artificial turf playing surfaces, video boards, new locker rooms, a new indoor hitting and pitching facility and seating for more than 200 fans at each field.