ENTERPRISE, Ala.– The City of Enterprise and its Special Projects Coordinator Kay Kirkland welcomes all to the state tournament June 13-15. A press release was issued:
Opportunities will abound for both visitors and local residents this weekend when more than 200 players and coaches descend upon the Enterprise Sports Complex for the Dixie Boys Baseball State tournament.
Enterprise Parks and Recreation Director Billy Powell said visitors and local residents who decide to become spectators for the games can expect a zealous and memorable competition. Tourism Director Tammy Doerer said the teams and the several hundred family members and friends who will accompany them to Enterprise, can expect good Southern hospitality when they patronize restaurants, shops and other local businesses during their stay.
“This event hosted by our Parks and Recreation Department will bring hundreds of people here over a five-day period,” Doerer said. “We want them to have a great experience while they are here. When they leave, we want them to be able to say they had a good time.”
She and Powell encouraged Enterprise residents to welcome the visitors from throughout the state to the City of Progress, and show them the warmth and graciousness for which the community is known.
The players and their coaches represent 16 teams in two divisions – the 13-year-old Jr. Dixie Boys and the 14-year-old Dixie Boys. The opening ceremonies will be this Friday at 6 p.m., and at least 30 games will be played Saturday through Tuesday, culminating in the championship games at 10 a.m. July 17.
“We are excited to be able to host this tournament, known for bringing great teams in for exciting competition,” Powell said. “Being selected to host the tournament also gives the Enterprise teams in each division the opportunity to serve as host teams, participate in the competition and have a chance to compete for a state championship.”
Teams competing in the Jr. Dixie Boys tourneys are Auburn University Montgomery, Daphne, Dothan, Enterprise, Fairhope, Selma and Spanish Fort and Troy. The Dixie Boys competitors are Enterprise, Fairhope, Opelika, Oxford, Southeastern from Montgomery, Selma, Spanish Fort and Troy.
Alabama Dixie Boys Baseball is a developmental program, and Powell said this division’s players are in a stage where their talent is revealing itself.
“If you enjoy baseball, you will have the opportunity to see some excellent play, and witness the developing skills of these young players,” Powell said, noting that fans will likely be watching some of the future stars of Division I college and Major League baseball. “You can expect to see some great pitching, and the teams are going to put in their best hitters to compete against those pitchers. You’re going to see good throwing and base running and base defense.”
Powell anticipates the players will be “looking to make those ESPN plays.”
Besides the regular play of the tournament, Enterprise Parks and Rec is offering players another opportunity to compete and practice or show off their strengths. For the first time, a slate of pre-tournament competition will take place immediately after the opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. Friday at the sports complex, inside the Enterprise Recreational Complex on Highway 167.
Timed base running, the 60-yard dash, and the Homerun Derby will be for individual players, and “Around the Horn” will involve the team as they throw from player to players in their infield positions. Awards will be presented to the winners.
The games provide another chance for youngsters to take home prizes and gain recognition, Powell said.
The regulation play for Jr. Dixie Boys starts Saturday at 4 p.m. with Dothan vs. Daphne and AUM vs. Spanish Fort taking two fields at the sports complex. The 7 p.m. lineup is troy vs. Selma and Fairhope vs. Enterprise.
The other two fields will be occupied by Dixie Boys competitors. At 4 p.m. Selma takes on Oxford and Troy plays Fairhope. At 7 p.m. Opelika and Spanish Fort go head to head. Enterprise takes on Southeastern, Montgomery.
The winners of these age divisions will advance to the World Series in Bossier City, La., which begins Aug. 4.
Powell said Alabama Dixie Boys Baseball Director D. Mark Mitchell will be in town for the tourney along with other Dixie District directors and some of the elite umpires in the state.
“These tournaments are good for our city,” Doerer said, referring to the upcoming event and last weekend’s Dixie Baseball Coach Pitch 6 and Under State Tournament. That tourney also brought hundreds of people to Enterprise.
Many of the visitors expressed their satisfaction with the facilities and the overall impression of the community. One wrote in an email: “You all did a fabulous job of hosting tournament play and building support around the city for the tournament. Many kudos go out to your Parks and Rec staff for the dedication that is required in hosting such events.”
Powell said another advantage of hosting tournaments is the opportunity to create more awareness about the city parks and services, which require constant upkeep and repair even when no special events are taking place.
“It takes a lot to make this (tournament) happen,” the department head said, thanking the field crews, the administrative staff, and all employees who prepare the fields, clean the restrooms and adapt the field or facilities to meet needs or make them user-friendly. The field crew has to prepare the fields, the pitching mounds, set the bases, clean the restrooms – prepare everything to make the facilities user-friendly.”
Powell and Doerer agreed the opportunities the tournaments create are worth the effort.
“Sports tourism events such as the Dixie State Baseball Tournament are a vital part of our tourism industry and create an economic benefit to many of the city’s businesses as people spend money at hotels, local restaurants, gas stations and stores,” Doerer said. “It proves that sports can strengthen not just athletes but also communities!”
Doerer said Enterprise, the only city that pays homage to an insect with a renowned downtown statue, has fine restaurants, unique shops and new recreational facilities such as Clark Cinemas and Enterprise Miniature Golf.
“I want the players and their families to see that Enterprise is a family-friendly destination where family fun and sports go hand in hand.”