BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/NEMCC Athletics) - Northeast Mississippi Community College's softball program says good-bye to David Carnell Memorial Field following the 2019 campaign with the impending completion of its new multi-million dollar on-campus complex.
The Tigers will give their fans plenty of chances to celebrate their home of the last 22 years with 25 of its 48 total games during the upcoming season originating from the City of Hospitality.
As long as Mother Nature cooperates, Northeast would tie the school record for the most home contests during a single year. The Tigers also played 25 games in Booneville during the 2007 campaign.
"It's been a great home for us," said Northeast head coach Jody Long. "I can't say enough about the city of Booneville staff working well with us. There's been a lot of exciting games and a lot of smiles over the years that has happened right there in that corner of the city park."
The Tigers actually begin their 19th season of fast-pitch competition at Jackson State (Tenn.) Community College on the first day of February. Northeast then benefits from a span of 45 days before its next true road contests.
Thirteen of the Tigers' next 16 games will take place at David Carnell Memorial Field starting on Friday, February 8 with a return trip from the Green Jays of Jackson State. The lone exception to Northeast's lengthy home stretch is three neutral site games at the Rush Invitational in Meridian.
The annual TigerFest returns from February 15-16 after getting cancelled one year ago due to inclement weather. Four Booneville City Park fields will be in action with teams coming from as far away as Illinois and Missouri for what is widely regarded as one of the top tournaments in the country.
Northeast also hosts the inaugural Mississippi-Tennessee Challenge on Tuesday, February 26. The Tigers and Northwest Mississippi Community College will both play single games versus interstate foes Columbia State (Tenn.) Community College and Motlow State (Tenn.) Community College.
Among Northeast's first-time opponents in the non-conference portion of its schedule are Coastal Alabama Community College at Monroeville in the Rush Invitational plus TigerFest adversaries Frontier (Ill.) Community College, Shawnee (Ill.) Community College and Southeastern Illinois College.
The Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) slate gets underway just before spring break on Friday, March 8 when the Tigers welcome Southwest Mississippi Community College.
Northeast entertains Itawamba Community College for the first time in three seasons on Wednesday, March 20. The last six meetings between these two rivals, including last year's state playoff series, have been in Fulton.
Other keynote dates on the calendar include on Saturday, April 6 when the Tigers travel to defending national champion Jones College and Wednesday, April 24 as Northeast visits Northwest.
Northeast will recognize and honor its sensational group of sophomores during its final home doubleheader of the regular season on Saturday, April 27 against Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
"Obviously having an opportunity to play a lot of games at home this year will be very special," Long said. "We've got some very tough games and early challenges leading up to conference play."
The state postseason format has changed for the first time since 2014. The eight best finishers in the league standings will all meet at the regular season state champion for a double elimination MACJC State Tournament from May 8-11.
The top three squads from the state playoffs plus Louisiana State University at Eunice then clash in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 23 Tournament the following week. The winner and runner-up advance to the national tournament in Clinton.