E.A. Sports Today

A different look

Dixie Softball Series still a go at Choccolocco Park, but organizers opening field to teams wanting to play in order to achieve full brackets
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
OXFORD – The Dixie Youth Softball World Series is still coming to Choccolocco Park in July, but it’s going to look a lot different than it ever has before and in some divisions might not even include a team from Alabama.

Obi Evans, the Dixie Softball national president, told East Alabama Sports Today the organization has enough teams in each age group “to play a decent tournament,” but some of the brackets may have multiple teams from a particular state instead of the traditional lineup of state champions and a host team.
“Corona has made us do something we ain’t never done,” Alabama state director Warren Bowron said.
“It is going to be different,” Evans agreed. “We’ve sent to the leagues and told them anyone who wants to participate in the World Series to notify us. We’ve decided the kids who want to play, we’re going to give them a place to play.”
Youth sports programs around the South are just starting to take the field as states slowly emerge from their respective coronavirus lockdowns. Right now, every state in the Dixie Softball organization has representation in the tournament with the exception of Alabama, which has just started playing again.

A full accounting of teams is expected to be available in a few weeks.
“It’s ready to go,” Evans said. “We’re putting teams together and different states are calling in and telling us they can and can’t (play). Some leagues that have never gone to a World Series are finding there’s an opportunity to go regardless of what ability. I’m sure some of the teams that will be coming are coming because it’s an opportunity to get into this tournament.”
Evans expects a “good mixture of states” in each age group. If more than 12 teams answer the call in a particular age group Evans said he would make an “executive decision” on the way to proceed. Florida and South Carolina appear to be the most active states and Evans believes in time Alabama will have teams available to play.
Bowron doesn’t share his optimism. His survey of franchises around his state indicates leagues are concentrating on their summer-long regular seasons.
“Some of your bigger leagues that you’d think would send a team are focusing on trying to play as much of a regular season and they would like to focus on getting play more for all abilities as opposed to the elite or better athletes,” he said. “Montgomery hasn’t even opened its fields yet. You take Montgomery out of the equation, that’s up to four or five of our teams that represent.
“Dothan is a large franchise and they are only playing a regular season and Enterprise is doing the same. They started Monday night. They’ll play about six or seven weeks. You do that, you’re into past when the World Series would have been or right up on it.”
The teams are scheduled to arrive in Oxford for the tournament July 31.

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