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Starting with a bang

Neither rain nor thunder could stop the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Alabama Dixie Youth AAAA State Tournament from taking place on Friday night at the Troy Sportsplex.

The event, which welcomed 12 different teams and their families from around the state, marked the beginning of the last tournament for this classification of baseball.

The teams competing in the tournament are Auburn Blue, Bellingrath, Dothan Southern, Geneva, Hartselle, Monroe County, The Mountaineers, Spanish Fort, Taylorville American, Underwood and White Plains.

The twelfth team is also the host team – the Troy Dixie Minor Americans.

The ceremony itself had representatives from each district at the tournament, as well as the National Director of Dixie Youth Baseball, Nelson Christian.

“We are all here to have a good time,” Christian said to the crowd on hand. “The theme of this week should be sportsmanship.”

“This will be a week where everyone wants to enjoy themselves and one that will create great experiences for these kids that they will be able to carry with them for the rest of their lives.”

Along with Christian, Troy University assistant baseball coach, Mark Smart talked to the crowd about what this level of baseball means to him.

“Watching this age group is watching baseball at its most purest form,” he said.

“I know how proud everyone is of their teams to be here and I am personally proud to be here.”

Troy Parks and Recreation Director, Dan Smith, also spoke a few words to the crowd, thanking all the families who traveled to Troy, the host families, who will be assisting visitors and another group who made the event happen – the grounds crew.

Before the event began, Troy was hit with inclement weather and putting the grounds keepers to work to prepare the fields for both the opening ceremonies to take place and the home run derby to conclude.

Now, all that is left to do is play ball.

Teams will take the field today, with the first game beginning at 3:30 p.m.

The Troy Americans will take the field against Hartselle at 8 p.m.