Columbiana hosts state tourney

COLUMBIANA – The Columbiana Dixie Youth Baseball program will host the 11- and 12-year-olds 2007 State All-Star O-Zone Baseball Tournament at their sports complex next week.

The tournament will kick off with a home run derby at the Shelby County High School softball fields at 5 p.m. Friday, July 13, followed by the opening ceremony at Papa McCombs Stadium at 8 p.m. Double elimination play will begin Saturday morning and continue through the championship on Thursday.

“This tournament has generated a great deal of excitement into our program. Our registration numbers were up 10 percent this year”, said Columbiana Dixie Youth President Kenneth Jones. “The O-Zone League kids are extremely excited to be playing in the State Tournament and it is a privilege to host the Dixie Youth State Tournament.”

The “O” Zone division was established in 2006 by Dixie Youth Baseball and has allowed each player to get a better feel for what baseball is like beyond Dixie Youth.

By adopting more of the high school baseball style of play, it has revamped the excitement involved with every game by enabling a base runner to play off base, experience pickoff plays and balks as a pitcher. The base paths were also expanded to 70 feet and the pitcher’s mound backed up to 50 feet.

Twelve teams from around the state will battle for the right to be called the Alabama State Dixie Youth Champion. The Shelby County team will welcome the neighboring Calera All-Stars as well as the Decatur American Red, Oxford Gold, Hueytown, Prattville American, Dothan National Blue, Cherokee County Nationals, Fort Payne, Troy Nationals, Underwood and Mobile Municipal Park.

“Numerous volunteers have worked countless hours to get prepared for this tournament,” Jones said. “We have something to be proud of and are ready to show it off to the State of Alabama. It will be a very competitive week of baseball and we are excited to be able to watch it in our back yard.”

Daily admission for the tournament is $5. The tournament’s website, www.shelbycountydixieyouth.com, is expected to go live Thursday.

Tournament Schedule:

Saturday, July 14

Game 1 – Troy Nationals vs. Fort Payne, 3:30 p.m., Field B

Game 2 – Hueytown vs. Dothan National Blue, 4 p.m., Field D

Game 3 – Oxford Gold vs. Decatur American Red, 5:30 p.m., Field B

Game 4 – Shelby County vs. Prattville American, 8 p.m., Field D

Game 5 – Underwood vs. Calera, 6 p.m., Field D

Game 6 – Cherokee Co. National vs. Municipal Park American, 7:30 p.m., Field B

Sunday, July 15

Game 7 – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 2 p.m.

Game 8 – Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 2:30 p.m.

Game 9 – Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6, 4 p.m.

Game 10 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 4:30 p.m.

Game 11 – Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 6 p.m.

Game 12 – Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 6:30 p.m.

Monday, July 16

Game 13 – Loser Game 10 vs. Winner Game 7, 5:30 p.m.

Game 14 – Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 9, 6 p.m.

Game 15 – Loser Game 11 vs. Loser Game 12, 7:30 p.m.

Game 16 – Winner Game 10 vs. Winner Game 11, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, July 17

Game 17 – Winner Game 13 vs. Winner Game 14, 5:30 p.m.

Game 18 – Loser Game 16 vs. Winner Game 15, 6 p.m.

Game 19 – Winner Game 16 vs. Winner Game 12, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 18

Game 20 – Loser Game 19 vs. Winner Game 18, 6 p.m.

Game 21 – Winner Game 19 vs. Winner Game 17, 8 p.m.

Thursday, July 19

Game 22 – Winner Game 21 vs. Winner Game 20, 2 p.m.

Game 23 – Winner Game 21 vs. Winner Game 20, 6 p.m. (if necessary