Dixie Youth World Series On Tap
Twenty-four of the best youth baseball teams from across the Southeast head to Moore County this week for the 2011 Dixie Youth World Series.
Hillcrest Park in Carthage is the site of the baseball action, which gets under way Saturday. The festivities officially kick off Friday with a home run derby at 2 p.m. at Hillcrest and an opening ceremony at 6:30 p.m. at Pinecrest High School’s John W. Williams Stadium.
Planning for the series has been a two-year process, according to Moore County Parks and Recreation Director Billy Ransom. He and other county officials are excited to show off the county to the baseball world. This is the first time that North Carolina has hosted the tournament in 25 years.
“‘The community as a whole, people have really been supportive of this,” he said. “People are donating and giving and volunteering. The county as a whole, our county, the commissioners have been really supportive. The different departments have stepped up, offering to help out in any kind of way. Everybody just has been really helpful, which has made my part easier. It’s just amazing, the response.”
There have been a number of improvements made to the already impressive Hillcrest Park. Five acres on the park property have been cleared to accommodate parking. Gates have been added to the outfields and dugouts, and two additional outfield fences have been acquired.
An intercom system has been added to the dugouts as well. Before, two-way radios were used. The four infields have been sodded.
“We’ve really improved our park and have moved it up a notch,” Ransom said.
The county has had a lot of support from a strong volunteer pool. The current Moore County Leadership Institute has spearheaded the volunteer drive as a project.
“Volunteer-wise, I think we’re in good shape,” Ransom said.
The park was closed for two weeks at the end of June so the outfields could be top-dressed and infields could be reclayed. A summer T-ball league used the park through July, but the park is again closed in preparation for the tournament.
Players, coaches, Dixie Youth Baseball officials and fans will start arriving Thursday. About 360 players and coaches will be participating, as well as numerous other visitors. The event is expected to make an enormous economic impact on the county like the U.S. Kids Golf World and Teen World Championships taking place right now.
The World Series is really two tournaments going on simultaneously. The 12-team AAA tournament is for 9-10-year-old teams, while the Majors tournament is for 11-12-year-olds. All the games will be played at Hillcrest, so baseball fans will enjoy up to four games going on at the same time.
State champions from 11 Southeastern states in each division have qualified for the tournaments. The host site is automatically granted a team in each tournament, so two Moore County all-star teams will be participating.
The two Moore County teams were exempt from the normal DYWS qualifying process, so Ransom said the teams have been playing in SWAC regional and state tournaments as a tune-up, and they’ve played well.
“We wanted them to be able to at least be playing some to get some game practice in,” he said.
Moore County’s AAA team faces Team Florida in its opening game Saturday. They will be playing on Field 2 at 7:30 p.m. The county’s Major League will be playing Team North Carolina at the same time on Field 1.
Contact John Krahnert III at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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