MC

Mississippi College

MC Boosts Batter Up 4 Stewpot!

July 25, 2008

Gov. Haley Barbour's Bombers, the Media Giants and a lineup of big-league sponsors are key parts of a charity softball game with a number of Mississippi College connections.

Batter Up 4 Stewpot! on August 7 at Trustmark Park, home of the Mississippi Braves, will feature Barbour's Bombers vs the Media Giants. Helping raise funds for Stewpot in downtown Jackson, the 5 p.m. softball game is the first half of a double-header at the Southern League ballpark.

The event will help raise funds for Stewpot to serve meals and provide clothing to thousands of needy families in the Jackson area as the U.S. economy faces tough times. The series will be the fourth-time the Bombers will face the Giants, a team comprised mainly of players from local newspapers, radio and TV stations. Led by gubernatorial staffers and state agency employees who recently won their league championship in Ridgeland, the governor's team leads the series 2 games to 1.

Republican Third District Congressional candidate Gregg Harper of Pearl will throw out the first pitch at the M-Braves game against Jacksonville that Thursday evening beginning at 7:05 p.m. A graduate of Pearl High School, Mississippi College and the University of Mississippi School of Law, Harper plans to greet players from the Bombers and the Giants before tossing the ceremonial first pitch.

A Jackson lawyer, Harper is thrilled to be on the team to promote Stewpot and take to the mound before thousands of fans at Trustmark Park. "I grew up following baseball greats such as Roger Maris for the Yankees and Cleon Jones for the Miracle Mets," Harper said Thursday. "I am honored to be part of this event. Helping Stewpot with its ministry is a fitting tribute to America's past-time."

His wife, Sidney Harper received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Mississippi College. She, along with their daughter Maggie, a Pearl High junior, and son, Livingston, a 2008 Pearl High grad, will cheer him on at the game.

M-Braves fans bringing at least two cans of food to the game will each receive a 50 percent ticket discount, according to M-Braves General Manager Steve DeSalvo, whose team is delighted to host this event for a good cause.

The series was previously known as Homerun for Habitat for the past three years. It raised $75,000 during that time to build homes for people in inner city Jackson neighborhoods.

The game will also feature a raffle including such prizes as a Bass Pro Shops boat, a six-month membership to the Courthouse Racquet Club in Flowood, and a splendid piece of pottery by artist Gail Pittman. Also on the raffle table: baseball jerseys from such schools as Mississippi College, the University of Southern Mississippi, Hinds Community College, Mississippi State University, Ole Miss, Itawamba Community College, Jones County Junior College and Jackson State University. Hats are coming from Belhaven College and Mississippi University for Women. There's a basketball from Mississippi Valley State University, a football from the Mississippi High School Activities Association (signed by director Ennis Proctor) food coupons from Backyard Burgers, a Johnny Cash festival T-shirt, a gift certificate from El Portrillo restaurant, gifts from the Mississippi College School of Law, and much more.

Leading sponsors include: BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi, Cellular South, and AT&T. Other top sponsors include BankPlus, the LifeShare Foundation of Jackson, and GetFit Mississippi and Mississippi Moms web sites of The Clarion-Ledger.

Governor Haley Barbour hopes to play or coach for the tenacious Bombers. The team includes Will Barbour, Austin Barbour, Henry Barbour, Josh Gregory and Patrick Sullivan. Media Giants include players from The Clarion-Ledger, WAPT-16, U.S. 96.3, Clear Channel Radio stations and Fox News in Jackson. Organizers of the event include: Andy Kanengiser, a former Clarion-Ledger reporter and Mississippi College's university news coordinator, and two MC grads: Pete Smith, the governor's press secretary and Rebekah Staples, the deputy press secretary and current Miss Mississippi Hospitality, and Rebecca Helmes, the Clarion-Ledger education reporter.

Sen. Terry Burton of Newton, a longtime radio man, will announce the game. Joey Azzone of Crossgates Baptist Church in Brandon will be the lead umpire along with his crew of Jay Stevens and Jim Conway.

"The Media Giants got spanked by the Bombers a year ago, but won't let that happen this year," said Kanengiser, a member of the Media Giants team. "We've practiced hard for weeks at the Pearl park. No matter who comes out on top, Stewpot will be the big winner this summer."

Barbour and Stewpot Executive Director Frank Spencer played on the same Yazoo City high team decades ago. Adding to the Delta connection, Clarion-Ledger sports reporter Rod Walker hails from Yazoo City and recalls growing up and playing ball with other members of the Barbour family.

Post-game, players from both teams hope to settle their differences and volunteer for a day to serve meals at Stewpot.

For details about the game or making a donation, contact Andy Kanengiser at kanengis@mc.edu or 601-918-4443 or Susan Frazier at Stewpot at 601-353-2759.

PHOTO: Gregg Harper