Once again tournaments provide great entertainment

Published 3:00 am Friday, July 28, 2017

There’s no doubt Troy teams have enjoyed a successful summer season.

Nine baseball and five softball teams were formed after the regular recreation season, and all hoped to be the next great team from Troy.

Troy has long been recognized as a baseball town, but in recent years a strong softball legacy has taken shape. The Belles team, comprised of players from five local high schools, is headed to the World Series for the fourth time in five years. The Sweetees, along with the Darlings and the Ponytails also made a trip to the state tournament.

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On the baseball side, the storied tradition continued this summer when six teams advanced to the state tournament and the Junior Dixie Boys heading to the World Series in South Carolina after only getting in one tournament’s worth of experience.

Troy’s success this summer went way beyond the teams’ performance on the field. I came into this profession with a negative attitude when it came to sportsmanship at the recreational level. Before coming to Troy I witnessed parents getting into the faces of umpires and coaches getting ejected in the opening inning. While covering these tournaments this summer I was reminded that these actions still go on, just not by the players and coaches of Troy.

Win or lose, the players and coaches always kept their heads up and moved on to the next pitch. Instead of getting in their players’ faces and screaming, I saw coaches embrace their players while at the same time giving and receiving a smile. Following the championship loss by Troy’s AAA team I didn’t see any tears; instead I saw a look of determination and confidence, almost like the players knew this was a stepping stone for future success. Win or lose they can be confident in the fact that they set a good example for how the game should be played.

When I came to Troy in 2015, everyone told me the person I need to know is Dan Smith of the Troy Parks and Recreation Department. They told me for all things recreation, he was the man to see.

Along with Associate Director David Dickey, Smith put on two quality tournaments this summer despite many hurdles from having to add pitching mounds to softball fields to battling nature.

It’s not a true Troy tournament without daily rain delays and extreme heat. This summer Smith and his staff had to deal with all of it. During the AAA State Tournament games were delayed every day until the championship round. Whether it was an hour and a half or a 30-minute delay, the grounds crew had to be at the ready; they never missed a beat. While players were hunkered down in their cars and coaches were wondering why the games haven’t started, Dickey along with Bart Pettus and the rest of the crew worked tirelessly to make sure that the playing surfaces were safe and fair.

The summer season provided so much entertainment for its players, coaches and parents.

With the Belles and Junior Dixie Boys ready to win a World Series championship we can all sit back and watch knowing this summer has already been a winner.