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Austin Peay plays Tigers on USA Stadium Field in Babe Howard Classic April 9

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Babe Howard Classic logos

The road leading to the historic USA Stadium is named after one of the most important men to ever step foot in the city of Millington.
W.S. ‘Babe’ Howard Blvd., has guided many notable players like Jim Abott, Tino Martinez and newly inducted Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Thomas to the fields of USA Stadium. The vision of the man known as Babe Howard continues with the work done by the staff of USA Stadium today.
And in the tradition of top-level amateur baseball being played Millington will have a showcase platform April 9 with the Memphis Tigers takiing on the Austin Peay Governors in the W.S. ‘Babe’ Howard Classic at USA Stadium starting at 6 p.m.
“For many reasons this is very important for USA Stadium and the city of Millington,” USA Stadium Baseball Coordinator Johnny Ray said. “Having The University of Memphis consider us says a lot about what we have to offer. They could have easily scheduled this game on campus but they are looking to give back to the community and the Howard family for their support over the years.”
Ray said the two teams playing in the Babe Howard Classic are ideal because of the local talent compiled by both squads.
“Having Memphis and Austin Peay play here should be a good draw,” he said.  “Not only will the Tigers have a lot of local players but Austin Peay does as well.”
Some of the local players returning on the Austin Peay roster are Garrett Copeland (Bolton), Shane Lantigua (Barlett), Chase Hamilton (Arlington), Ridge Smith (Germantown), Hunter Lindley (St Georges) and Caleb DeLee (Collierville).
“It says that we still have a great name among the fraternity of schools and coaches,” Ray said. “Also it says that we can provide a quality venue for any level of play.”
USA Stadium is known as a quality complex in the area. One one Saturday in March, USA Stadium hosted baseball, Memphis Blues Rugby, Pokerface Wrestling and the Mito What? 5K with hundreds of runners. Ray said more unique events are coming to USA Stadium, but the foundation of the venue is still on the diamond.
“It’s hard not to find a baseball event going on at USA Stadium,” he said. “Not only have we hosted two junior college tournaments as well as Arkansas State and Creighton, but we have the 22nd annual USA High School Classic being played April 2-5.
“In addition, we are the home for Southwest Tennessee Community College,” Ray continued. “They are here from early August until May. Once the summer gets here we will have a tournament most every weekend.  We have teams come from all over the country to  play here starting in February.  So far in 2014, we’ve had teams from Minnesota, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Nebraska as well as other regional schools in here.”
Ray said come out to the ballpark this spring and summer to enjoy the nation’s pastime. And a great way to start it would be the Babe Howard Classic.
“We have affordable prices for concessions and admission,” he concluded.

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