Players, coaches, parents, and volunteers kicked off the 2019 Dixie Youth Baseball season Saturday with an opening ceremony featuring Nutzy the Squirrel and his sidekick Nutasha. League President Bryan Soles said over 150 boys and girls from ages 4 to 12 are playing at Parker Park this year, and about another 80 13-to 18-year-olds will play during the upcoming Babe Ruth season.
“We’ve got 27 4-year olds this year,” Soles said. “That’s incredible, that we’ve got that many little ones playing.”
Shep Moss presented South Hill Baseball’s annual scholarship at the event. This year’s recipient of the Shep Moss Academic Scholarship Award is longtime Dixie Youth and Babe Ruth player Jarrett Hamby, a junior at Park View High and member of the varsity team.
Moss said a number of former Dixie Youth players have gone on to play in college or are about to do so.
“South Hill Dixie Youth lays a lot of foundation for our youth to continue their further careers, and I think we’re very, very proud of that,” Moss said.
But Moss also encouraged the players to enjoy themselves, saying that some of them will stop playing after the age of 12.
“Don’t worry about the scoreboard,” Moss said. “Don’t worry about your win and loss record. Worry about your friendships and the good time that you have playing Dixie Youth Baseball.”
Soles encouraged everyone in attendance to thank the businesses in the community that have sponsored Dixie Youth
“We’ve redone the batting cage nets, we’ve done some things in the batting cage, at the field, there’s some more things coming, and that’s all because of these businesses in town that are so open to giving money to help us play baseball,” Soles said.
This year’s sponsors include Total Image Solutions, Farm Bureau, Touchstone, Benchmark Community Bank, Quik Fuel, S&K Dozer, Airtec, TCD Construction, Wilsons BBQ, Citizens Bank & Trust, Cleansweep Chimney, HHM Event Rentals, Sadler Salvage, Newmart, and Big Fork Farms. There are 15 Dixie Youth teams at Parker Park this year.