Columbus won't be neutral-site host city in 2017

Posted 6/6/16

By Tim Morse

Georgia Dugout Preview


The Georgia High School Association will not be using Columbus’ Golden Park in the first year of its neutral-site state baseball championships starting in May of 2017.

The two original site locations for the championships were Golden Park in Columbus and State Mutual Stadium in Rome, and the best-of-three state championship series were scheduled to be held May 18-20, 2017.

However, the association moved the games back a week to May 25-27, which created a scheduling conflict for Columbus.

According to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Columbus is scheduled to host the Georgia State Cup, a soccer tournament that features 186 teams and will be played from May 26-30. The event will draw more than 4,500 and book up the majority of the city’s hotel rooms.

 “Because of some testing conflicts and other items we had to work around, we moved the finals to a week later,” GHSA executive director Gary Phillips told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. “We did the same thing with golf. It was just the impact of the way the calendar rotates. It’s a matter of several things coming together at the same time that caused us to move back a week.

“At first we thought we had a conflict (with Columbus), then we thought we had it (solved), and then we had to move back a week and it didn’t work out.”

Rome will continue to serve as a host site, but the GHSA is now looking at an alternate site, particularly in South Georgia. The additional site has not been confirmed, but a source close to the Georgia Dugout Preview Magazine said the GHSA is eyeing Savannah and Grayson Stadium as a potential host site.

Grayson Stadium once housed a Class A minor league team – the Savannah Sand Gnats – before the team left for Columbia, S.C. after the 2015 season. The 4,000-seat stadium is currently used by the Savannah Bananas of the Coastal Plain League collegiate summer baseball league.

The source added that Georgia Southern’s JJ Clements Stadium was considered, but the school is locked as a host site for the 2017 Sun Belt Conference Tournament

Depending on the GHSA schedule, it is possible that Columbus could host in 2018 or beyond.

“Our full intention is to rotate it and use other locations, so that we aren’t talking about permanent locations,” Phillips said. “Georgia is very spread out.”

Editor's Note: Information from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer was used in this story