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Opening ceremonies kick off #8216;06 season

Troy Parks and Recreation Director Dan Smith described opening night for youth baseball and softball as a celebration and what a celebration Friday night's ceremony turned out to be.

Hundreds of youth baseball and softball players, all decked out in the uniforms of their respective teams, lined one side of Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium as their parents and others in attendance lined the opposite side of the stadium, eagerly anticipating the opportunity to see their favorite ballplayer appear on the stadium's Jumbotron.

&uot;I like that they are having the ceremony here,&uot; Renae Elder said.

&uot;This is the first one I have ever been to, but I can only imagine how much better it is here than it would be somewhere else. Here you have this nice sound system and then you get to see all the kids up there on the big screen. That's great. I really like that since we aren't sitting down on the front row.&uot;

Elder's daughter, Ashla, is a member of the Darling League Sand Gnats.

Russell Jordan agreed that Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium was an excellent venue for the annual ceremony, which was scheduled to be held at the stadium last year but was washed out by heavy rains.

&uot;I think this is great place to have it,&uot; Jordan said. &uot;There's a lot of room and you have a pretty good view of the kids.

&#8220I didn't know for sure what to expect because this is my first opening ceremony, but I think this is a really good place to have it.&uot;

Jordan's son, Ethan is a member of the T-Ball League Indians.

According to Smith, Movie Gallery stadium is the perfect venue to host the ceremonies which officially kick off the youth baseball and softball leagues with the introduction of the teams .

&uot;I think Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium is the perfect venue to hold the ceremony,&uot; Smith said.

&uot;There's ample seating and everyone gets a great view of the kids as we introduce the team. Opening ceremonies really are about celebrating the youth of our community and I think having the event at the stadium lets us do that in a first-class way. We're very appreciative to Troy University for letting us have the event at the stadium.&uot;

Both the youth softball and baseball leagues opened play on Saturday with a full slate of games.

Only the Dixie Boys League did not play.

That league will open play on April 21.