OXFORD, Miss. –– North Mississippi’s new home for competitive youth sports is rolling out the green carpet for its inaugural season of 18 youth soccer, baseball and softball tournaments.
The Oxford-Lafayette Sportsplex, boasting Mississippi’s first eco-friendly LED lit fields, and Oxford-Lafayette’s only private tournament space, is now the first to bring synthetic turf baseball fields to the North Mississippi area.
Located six miles south of Oxford off Hwy. 7 South, the 73-acre sports complex offers young athletes in the Southeast region competitive tournament opportunities hosted in state-of-the-art facilities.
“There is no other place like it in Mississippi–– it is the first. It’s like an attraction, like Six Flags,” said Chris Snopek, former Ole Miss third baseman and owner of City Sports Services, a consulting company selected to provide management and on-site operational services for the Oxford-Lafayette Sportsplex. “So there may be teams who it attracts to come play where everyone already loves playing–– Oxford.”
The OLSportsplex facilities will host the Oxford Spring Classic USSSA AAA/Major baseball tournament on April 11-13, with other competitive baseball, soccer and softball tournaments scheduled through October 26.
“It is a unique opportunity for Oxford to develop another tourist attraction with those economic dollars going through the county and city,” said Snopek. “And the kids like it.”
Snopek said the synthetic turf technology allows for grass-like field play with less chances of rainouts, and no fertilizing or mowing maintenance.
“There is a lot of up front costs, but it saves so much money in anywhere from college to pro, because of the little maintenance from wear and tear, especially youth oriented where there is so much going on,” Snopek explains. “Ole Miss (baseball) has it all around their field except for on the playing surfaces, and most football fields have it now just because they don’t have to worry about cutting and fertilizing it, and if it rains two inches you can still play,” said Snopek.
Snopek added that the synthetic turf technology being installed today is not like it used to be.
“The old turf, which was like thirty years ago, was more bouncy; it had little rubber mats underneath it. Now, they cut it like grass in little blades,” added Snopek. “They’ve got it now, the technology, where it is almost like normal grass.”
Texas based ARCHCO Superior Construction, specializing in natural and artificial turf design and installation, is set to finish laying the two and a quarter inch pile monofilament at the OLSportsplex ahead of a spring and summer lineup featuring 12 baseball, softball and soccer tournament events.
“It’s a top-end turf fiber,” said ARCHCO President Jeremy Archer. “It requires far less maintenance than a natural grass surface, and it drains rainwater at a rate of 15 inches per hour. On a natural field, sometimes you have to wait a day or two after a rain to play on it, but with this, you don’t stop. You don’t lose any games due to weather.”
Sign up for any OLSportsplex event online, or schedule a practice field at www.oxfordlafayettesportsplex.com.