Dixie Youth set to kick off

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 7, 2011

NATCHEZ — Registration is completed, the teams have been drafted and it is almost time to play ball for the Natchez Dixie Youth Baseball League.

The league will kick off its 60th season April 11 at Duncan Park.

“(I’m looking forward) to seeing the kids come out there and play some good baseball,” league director Porky Smith said.

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There will be four different leagues.

Tee ball will be for 4- through 6-year-olds. That league will consist of 10 teams with 13 players on each team, Smith said.

Coach pitch will be for 7- and 8-year-olds. That league will have eight teams with about 11 or 12 players on each team, Smith said.

There are two leagues that will feature live pitching. There is a 9- and 10-year-old league and a 11- and 12-year-old league.

The younger league has about 65 players split into five teams. The elder league has about 55 players split into four teams.

Smith, who has been involved with the league for 42 years, was pleased with the amount of registered players, he said. He did wish they had gotten more older kids so they could have fewer players on each team, he said.

Games will be played at Duncan Park. Coach pitch will be played on Sprague-Goussett Field. Live pitching games will be played on Carroll-Jones Field. Tee-ball will be played on Ballew-Bowlin Field.

Former league president Clarence Bowlin, who was president for 55 years, said the fields at Duncan Park are a perfect venue for youth baseball.

“The Duncan Park fields are some of the nicest parks in Mississippi because of the location, and the (shade from) the trees” Bowlin said.

The teams will all play around 16 games during the season, and at the end of the season the leagues will pick All-Stars, Smith said.

Bowlin thinks that being involved in Dixie Youth teaches the kids a lot about the game, but the main goal is fun, he said.

“It’s my opinion that this program is for recreation. The main objective is for kids to come out and have fun,” Bowlin said.

“(However), most every player that you see playing on (our local) high school teams came through our program.”

Smith said there are some good coaches in the league, who are dedicated and spend a lot of time with the kids.

Games will be played Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.