Dixie Youth holds opening ceremonies

Published 2:35 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It’s official, summer is here. Sure, the calendar says summer comes in June. But in the sports world, summer means baseball.

Natchez Dixie Youth baseball held its opening day ceremonies Monday at Duncan Park.

The ceremony included the introduction of Dixie Youth board of directors along with the 7- and 8-year-old, 9-and10-year-old and 11-and 12-year-old teams, and the presentation of three scholarships. Board member Jo Jo Eidt helped with the introduction and stressed to the players and members of the crowd the importance of sportsmanship in youth baseball.

Email newsletter signup

Clarence A. Bowlin Jr., state commissioner of Dixie Youth Baseball, was on hand for the awarding of the scholarships.

This year 225 applications for 70 scholarships that were to be divided among 11 states were received, Bowlin said. Six scholarships were awarded in Mississippi, and two students from Natchez, ACCS senior John Carl Johnson and Trinity senior Taylor Hinson, were recipients.

To be considered for a scholarship, the applicant had to participate in Dixie Youth baseball at one point in their lives. Scholastic performance, extracurricular activities and finances were also considered before the $2,000 scholarships were awarded.

“It feels good to be one of six people in Mississippi to get this,” Hinson said.

The Trinity baseball, football and soccer player participated in Dixie Youth from the T-ball level until he was 14. Hinson said this was the second scholarship he has been awarded, and said he plans to attend Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Natchez and possibly pursue a career in nursing.

John Carl Johnson played football and runs track for ACCS, and played Dixie Youth baseball for seven years, from age 5-12.

“Winning this scholarship feels real good,” Johnson said.

He plans on attending Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, and has aspirations of becoming a mechanic or federal game warden.

Bowlin said since 1954, Dixie Youth has awarded over a million dollars in scholarships nationally. He said Dixie Youth first gave out one scholarship a year, and it was only worth $250. Now the national organization awards 70 scholarships a year, each worth $2,000.

The third scholarship awarded was the Laverne “Preacher” Brown Scholarship, and it is awarded by the Natchez Dixie Youth board of directors and is done so on the local level.

This year ACCS senior Eric Perry received the $250 scholarship.

“This was definitely a surprise and definitely appreciated,” Perry said.

Perry, a football and baseball player will be continuing his education at Mississippi Delta Community College on a baseball scholarship.