BOONEVILLE, Miss. - Northeast Mississippi Community College's diamond sports must embrace life on the road this autumn while the bells and whistles are being put onto their new facility.
The baseball and softball teams have each scheduled four fall dates to assist in preparations for the upcoming 2020 regular season.
Both squads will compete in doubleheaders each day for a total of eight games. The baseball club will battle fellow members of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) while the softball team plays predominantly four-year institutions.
"I want to see how we compete in certain situations," said Northeast head baseball coach Richy Harrelson. "It's always important to put them in the fire early and see how they're going to do. We're going to be patient with them and develop them into better players."
The baseball team gets its fall semester slate underway on Friday, September 20 against Calhoun (Ala.) Community College and Motlow State (Tenn.) Community College from Austin Peay State (Tenn.) University's Raymond C. Hand Park.
The Tigers travel to FedExPark on the campus of the University of Memphis (Tenn.) one week later to face rival Northwest Mississippi Community College and Southwest Tennessee Community College.
Northeast gets to test its skills on historic Smith-Wills Stadium's turf surface on Wednesday, October 2. The Tigers encounter defending NJCAA Region 23 champions Delgado (La.) Community College and Pearl River Community College at the former home of Minor League Baseball's (MiLB) Jackson Mets and Jackson Generals.
Matchups with Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) opponents Copiah-Lincoln Community College and Mississippi Delta Community College wrap up Northeast's autumn agenda on Tuesday, October 8 at Delta State University's Dave "Boo" Ferriss Field.
The softball team will play at least five NCAA Division I institutions this fall beginning on Saturday, September 28 at the University of Tennessee at Martin. The Tigers also tangle with Bethel (Tenn.) College earlier that afternoon.
Northeast then meets Alabama A&M University and the University of North Alabama at nearby Florence, Ala., and the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg in the first two weeks of October.
The Tigers save their longest trip of the opening semester for their final games on Wednesday, October 23. Northeast makes a nearly five-hour journey to take on Enterprise State (Ala.) Community College and host Troy (Ala.) University.
"There's tremendous upside for us to be able to play quality competition in the fall," said Northeast head softball coach Jody Long. "With the (NCAA) Division I schools not being able to do tryouts, anytime we can put our kids on the field against them it gives them an opportunity to perform in front of big time programs."
The baseball and softball teams will continue to practice at Harold T. White Field and David Carnell Memorial Field, respectively, until construction at the "Field of Dreams" complex is complete.
The "Field of Dreams" is Northeast's new on-campus home for its baseball and softball programs. It features state-of-the-art Nevco video and scoreboards, artificial turf surfaces, a two-story pressbox, locker rooms plus an indoor hitting and throwing building.