BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - After multiple weather delays early in the week, the Conference USA baseball tournament wrapped up Sunday with full stands.
For Merton Hanks with Conference USA, the weekend weather was a pleasant surprise. He says it was great to see so many fans stick around through the early delays.
"You want to honor the fans," said Hanks. "Look, we had the longest, or the latest game ever in Conference USA history played last night followed by a game that finished up at 1:50 in the morning the night before and there were fans in the stands cheering those young men on. It was inspiring to see."
Charlotte got into the semi-final game with a walk-off winner Saturday night. That led to some unexpected fans like Matt Sholtis and Trevor Wilt in the stands Sunday morning.
"We actually left last night at eleven and drove straight through the night to come support our guys here," said Sholtis.
And though they left MGM Park disappointed with a loss, they also left impressed.
"It's a beautiful place and finally some good weather," Wilt said. "We've been watching on TV the last few days and it's been crazy staying up until 3 am watching the games. But it was good to come here, get some good weather, no delays. And I know the grounds crew did phenomenal. That'd be crazy to do what they did in a four-day span."
For Southern Miss fan Bob Palmer, the trip down from Petal was a short one, but the experience at this tournament was outstanding.
"We're all thinking that we're never going to get this thing in and then God took over, I mean this is awesome," Palmer said. "If I'd have told you two days ago we'd be here Sunday morning you'd say no way, we're going to be washed out. State of emergency, everybody's going home. Here we are, you know, baseball, America's pastime."
Hanks is pleased with all the help his crew received from weather experts and the athletic department at USM. He hopes to see the partnership between Conference USA and MGM Park continue to blossom in years to come.
"Tim Bennett's been a key in putting this thing together," said Hanks. "He and I will continue to sit down and try to figure out how to make this thing bigger and better for the 2019 season."