Home-field advantage just might be in favor of Alcorn State this week at the SWAC baseball tournament.The campus is roughly 430 miles away from Fort Worth’s LaGrave Field, the host stadium of the 2013 SWAC Tournament, in Lorman, Miss., but many fans will only have an hour or less drive.Four players on the Alcorn roster will return to their Metroplex home for the tournament, including Euless Trinity alumnus and pitcher Ryan Fuentes.However, their return trip had not been circled on their calendars long.Halfway through the 2013 season, Fuentes said he and teammates Josh Powell of Rowlett, Ryan Akins of Flower Mound and DeAngelo Morgan of Cedar Hill stumbled upon the news while checking the SWAC website.“Originally, the tournament was supposed to be in Baton Rouge at Southern University and then we found out halfway through the season that it got moved to LaGrave and we were really excited,” Fuentes said.During his time at Trinity, Fuentes had the chance to play at LaGrave — home of the Fort Worth Cats — during a high school game in which he did not pitch, But he remembers his team’s victory fondly.“It was humbling and was really nice,” Fuentes said. “That was the biggest park I had played on at the time.”In his high school years playing summer select ball, Fuentes wowed an Alcorn assistant coach by throwing four innings of no-hit baseball before rain washed out the remainder of the game. While the scout was there to watch one of Fuentes’ teammates, Fuentes ended up getting the offer that he would accept.This time around, Fuentes hopes his time at LaGrave ends by pairing his 2011 conference championship ring with a 2013 edition after the Wednesday-Sunday tournament.“It’s going to be big,” the junior said. “We won the whole thing back in my freshman year, so I already have a conference championship ring. It would be really nice to get one this year and another one next year. The goal is to just come back with a ring.”Alcorn (15-39, 14-10 in SWAC) begins the tournament at 9 a.m. Wednesday against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (21-30, 13-11), who took the season series from Alcorn, but it’s a matchup that easily builds excitement, Fuentes said.Games take place throughout the day on Wednesday-Saturday, leading to Sunday’s championship game.But Fuentes and the Metroplex boys of Alcorn hope fans will come out and adopt a new hometown team.“We were really looking forward to getting our families out there and friends from back home,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll come out and support Alcorn and give us a little home-field advantage.”
SWAC Baseball Tournament
LaGrave Field, Fort Worth
Wednesday-Friday: 9 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 6 p.m.
Saturday semifinals: 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Sunday final: 2 p.m. on ESPN3
Tickets at stadium or on www.fwcats.com