Spring break baseball tournaments have become increasingly popular during the past decade.
Mount Pleasant head coach Bryan Tyson, whose team took part of the East Meck Spring Showcase April 5-7, said these types of tournaments give him the opportunity to fine-tune his team before they plunge into the second half of their schedule.
"That's what our goal was this week, just to have good at-bats and get better," he said.
Tyson, whose Tigers (9-7, 6-2 South Piedmont Conference) lost to all three showcase opponents - Butler, North Mecklenburg and Hopewell - said the biggest benefit from playing in a spring tournament is being able to face good teams.
The coach added that playing at East Meck allowed him and his team to see some great pitching.
"You can't simulate 86-87 miles per hour in practice so they have to play good teams to see that," he explained.
Tyson said he thinks playing at the East Meck tourney will pay off in the long run.
"It may not be showing up right now - this week - in the win and loss column but down the road it will," he said after his team's 9-0 loss to North Meck.
The Tigers weren't the only team playing during their school break. The majority of the SPC teams - Concord, Cox Mill, Hickory Ridge and Jay M. Robinson - traveled to Stanly County to play last week.
Cox Mill had a noteworthy spring break tournament. The Chargers (1-14, 0-8 SPC) recorded the young program's first baseball win by defeating the Charlotte Stampede 9-8 and kept it close in its other two games, losing to both Olympic and South Stanly by only one point.
Central Cabarrus (6-8, 3-5 SPC) traveled west to the East Rutherford Invitational Tournament, where they placed seventh after going 1-2.
Tyson said the main reason behind playing during the break is to try to get ready to finish out strong in SPC play.
The conference's title race is still wide open. Mount Pleasant is atop conference standings (as of April 9), but every team except Cox Mil is realistically within reach - Northwest Cabarrus, A.L. Brown, Hickory Ridge and Concord are only one game behind while Central Cabarrus and Robinson are within three games of the Tigers.
Tyson said keeping that lead in the conference is one of the biggest reasons his players don't mind sacrificing free time during spring break.
"It's kind of a give-and-take situation," he said. "You come out and bust it hard for the first three days and we'll give them the next three off. They can't take a whole week off and expect to be any good coming back to conference play."