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Official Review by Justin Sutton, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Located in the Pine Belt region of Mississippi, Pete Taylor Park serves as the host of the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi. The ballpark is located in an area that has produced powerhouse high school programs at the state and national levels; the stadium fits in with the love of baseball found in the region.
Pete Taylor Park hosted the 1996, 2005, and 2009 Conference USA baseball tournament. Fans who make the trip to Hattiesburg should leave with good memories in hand.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Pete Taylor Park does not offer the greatest variety of food and drink, but it does enough to satisfy. Fans taking in a game in Hattiesburg will be able to purchase ballpark favorites such as roasted peanuts ($3), sunflower seeds ($3) and popcorn for ($3). Funnel cakes ($5) and foot long corn dogs ($4) will make the kids smile, and they will not break the bank.
In addition to the concession area behind home plate, another area with items such as snow cones can be found behind the first base bleachers. While the concession areas accept Visa and MasterCard, the snow cone stand is cash only.
The 32 oz lemonade ($5) may be the best drink deal at the park as a bottled drink will cost $3. No alcohol is served at Pete Taylor Park.
Fans going to a game at Pete Taylor Park will find many pleasing aspects to watching the game at Southern Mississippi. Most of the seats fall along the baselines from first to third base, and most are available for any fan to sit in. The chair backs behind home plate are reserved as are lower level box seats, but even the bleacher seats have a back to them.
In addition there is a picnic area that allows fans to sit at tables and eat instead of dragging all of the food through the stands. Families traveling with children may find this area of great interest. Sitting in this area does not come at a sacrifice of watching the game as the tables are just off shallow right field.
Just a bit further down the line fans can set up their own chairs to watch the game, and the area is located right next to the visitor's bullpen, giving fans the opportunity to get a close up view of pitchers preparing to enter a game.
If watching the Southern Miss dugout is important, be sure to sit along the first base side as the Golden Eagles claim the third base dugout.
While there are not too many in-game promotions, children attending the game have plenty of room to run about should they got bored from watching baseball.
While there are not many restaurants within walking distance of Pete Taylor Park that does not mean that there are not good options within a few minutes of drive time.
If you are interested in Mexican cuisine, then check out Cucos located on Highway 49 just southeast of the stadium past Hardy Street, one of the main roads in town.
If Mexican is not hitting the spot on game day, Mugshots Bar and Grill has a sports bar feel to go along with a variety of burgers (try the peanut butter burger, the Savell) and fun appetizers such as cheese logs and fried pickles.
Parents traveling to Hattiesburg with kids may find the Longleaf Trace or a trip to the Hattiesburg Zoo to be a fun side excursion.
Southern Miss fans have enjoyed a bit of success from their baseball program over the past several years, and it shows with a decent number of fans attending games. However, that number could be a bit greater.
While many fans at the game will be enjoying the contest, a good number don't seem to keep much of an interest in the game. During my most recent visit the crowd did not add to the game, but it did not take away from the game either.
When you include the standing room areas, Pete Taylor Park can accommodate over 5,000 fans with a record crowd of 5,689 attending a 2011 game against Ole Miss.
Not many cities in Mississippi are more accessible than Hattiesburg. The Hub City sits about 90 minutes from Jackson, New Orleans, and Mobile, and it is only about one hour north of Gulfport and Biloxi on the Mississippi Coast.
Fans traveling from Mississippi Coast can take US Highway 49 North and turn right onto North 26th Avenue (right across from M.M. Roberts Stadium) and take and quick left onto 4th Avenue West. Fans traveling from Mobile can stay on US 98 until taking US 45 North and following these directions.
Fans traveling from Jackson will take Highway 49 South and take a right onto Northwood Drive to hit 4th Avenue West. Fans coming from New Orleans can follow Interstate 59 until taking the US 49 South exit and following these directions.
Plenty of nearby parking is available for Southern Miss baseball. While the spots nearest Pete Taylor Park are paid or reserved, fans can park across the street at the Reed Green Coliseum on M.K. Turk Circle. Travelers with a truck or lifted vehicle can hop the curb and park in shaded areas. While there, walk over to Nitchampsburg, the area where Southern Miss fans celebrated the school's (and state's) only NIT basketball championship in 1987.
A game at Pete Taylor Park comes with many positives, but it also comes with a moderately high-ticket price. Fans planning on attending several games in a season can take advantage of different ticket packages that provide a more attractive price.
The concession stand food falls in the same category. The price tag is not outrageous, but it does seem to be a little bit higher than deserved.
With that said, fans going to Pete Taylor Park will not feel as if they have been ripped off on the price of attendance, and they should have a pretty solid experience.
Pete Taylor Park provides a solid atmosphere for fans to take in a baseball game, and it is an enjoyable enough atmosphere that fans with no rooting interests would still enjoy the venue and the game. That cannot be said for many college baseball stadiums.
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6104 U.S. 49
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
2895 W 4th St
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
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