BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Nearly 40 teams are in town for the fifth annual Battle on the Beach, which is taking place at Biloxi High and other high school baseball diamonds on the Gulf Coast.
It’s set to be an exciting weekend full of baseball for the players and their families.
“We’re going Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and those that have spring break now, they’re coming down to play,” said Eddie Lofton, tournament organizer and Biloxi High baseball coach. “Then, next week, we’ve got about 27 teams playing in the tournament.”
While it’s an exciting tournament and one organizers are looking forward to, they say the attendance has seen a dip.
“Our numbers are down,” said Lofton. “Last year, we had 57 teams. This year, we have 37 due to COVID. The biggest restriction was the school districts that didn’t want their students to stay overnight.”
But those teams and parents that are coming and staying might help the Coast clean up a bit in terms of tourism revenue, even with COVID mandates still in place at high school stadiums.
“We’re basically at the one year anniversary of having to stop everything,” said Lofton. “We thought we were going to stop for a week and then get back into it, but it turned into a year where you weren’t able to do what you wanted. But they’ll be back on the field to play and it’s an outdoor sport. The weather’s beautiful. It’s exciting to get back out here and get the tournament going again.”
He also said most of the teams competing this year are from Mississippi, with the exception of one from Louisiana and one from Florida. He says the dates for next year’s tournament have already been set.