E.A. Sports Today

Big House gets softball series

UPDATED
Dixie Youth bringing softball World Series to Choccolocco Park in 2020

By East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — Fresh off its success with the 2017 Dixie Youth Baseball World Series and adding to its reputation as a prime tournament showplace in the southeast, Choccolocco Park is getting another major youth tournament in 2020.

The Big House has been awarded the 2020 Dixie Youth Softball World Series. All nine age groups will be participating, bringing as many as 100 teams to the venue.

Oxford was awarded the tournament at last week’s Softball World Series in Alexandria, La., which drew 83 teams and 6,000 people. It beat out Alexandria. A third contender withdrew from consideration a few weeks earlier.

“I was excited for the park because it just continues to help place us on the map and possibly creates more opportunities for us down the road,” said assistant park director Billy Thompson, who was part of the city’s three-man presentation team. “I was excited for the City of Oxford because I know any time you raise the population by 25 percent for a week the economic impact will be felt.

“This, to my knowledge, will be the biggest event held since the park opened. The last two years (the Softball World Series) has seen over 80 teams, so we expect no less, with a possibility of up to 108 teams.”

Choccolocco Park director Jack Deal has blocked off a window of July 25-Aug. 5 for the tournament. Some of the games are likely to be played at the Oxford Lake Complex and while park officials would like to use it for the late rounds it has not been determined if the Signature softball field will be used.

Dixie Youth Softball offers World Series brackets in SweeTees (6U), SweeTees X-Play, Darlings (8U), Angels (10U), Angels X-Play, Ponytails (12U), Ponytails X-Play, Belles (15U) and Debs (19U) divisions. Alabama offered state tournaments in every division except SweeTees X-Play and Ponytails in 2018, but had no Calhoun County teams involved.

Next year’s Softball World Series will be played in Eufaula; Alexandria, La.; and Hopkins County, Texas.

Choccolocco Park had its first experience with the Dixie Youth championship tournaments when it hosted 33 teams in three divisions of the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series (AA, AAA, O-Zone) last summer. It has hosted events with more teams since and gained more experience in the process, but there was one segment of its presentation by Thompson, Lamar Carter and Josh Craft that may have put it over the top.

“We presented a video on the park with everything from the police and fire department being there to the vastness of the parking areas,” Deal said. “I think that was really what sold everybody because we’re in a place where they’re holding the tournament this year, held it last year and were bidding for it in 2020 and (Dixie Youth officials) know what they’ve got there. But we got all nine and I think Louisiana’s jaw hit the ground when that happened. Not anything against them, but I think the presentation was so good by our media crew I think that floored them.

“I don’t think anybody is going to have a better ballfield than we do, so we already have that in our pocket, but the thing that really sold them was the city itself and how the infrastructure with 600 motel rooms less than a mile away is in place.”

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