Vikings ready for Tarboro Easter Baseball Classic

By Nick Piotrowicz

Sports Writer

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A late spring break, a withdrawal and a cancellation have dialed back the 2014 Tarboro Easter Baseball Classic, but Tarboro is going onward with its annual holiday tournament.

Edgecombe County Public Schools’ break is this week, after Easter instead of before it, which prevented many teams from accepting tournament invites.

Then Parkway Christian Academy (Va.) backed out of the six-team field two weeks ago, so Tarboro’s JV team will take the absent place.

A home run derby was supposed to take place tonight, but it since has been cancelled.

“I had a lot of trouble getting teams to commit,” Tarboro coach Chris O’Neill said. “I sent emails to probably 450 different schools, but their breaks just didn’t match up with ours.”

In addition to both Tarboro teams, NCISAA power Lawrence Academy, Virginia-based Southampton Academy, Watauga and Rocky Mount Prep round out the field. The teams will be separated into two pools of three teams each.

The winners of each pool will play each other in the championship game at 7 p.m. Friday.

The hope for the Vikings is that a small tournament this season proves to be exciting and makes for an even better one next season, O’Neill said.

“We got a lot of interest for next year already,” O’Neill said. “A lot of teams said they’ll keep us in mind for 2015 and hope things line up then.”

Even though this season didn’t work out quite the way he had hoped, O’Neill said this week presents a good learning experience for the Tarboro teams and his opponents.

Particularly for the Tarboro JV team, O’Neill said this is an exciting week.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for them,” he said. “When I told them they were going to play, they were really excited to be able to go against some varsity teams.”

The Vikings won the tournament last season.

Tarboro (7-7, 4-1) currently sits in second place in the Two Rivers Conference, and with a push toward winning the league upcoming, O’Neill said the Vikings can use this week to improve.

“We’re looking forward to a good tournament,” O’Neill said. “We think this is big for our team and the town. We’re looking forward to some big turnouts.”

Nick Piotrowicz can be reached at 407-9952 or npiotrowicz