Some of the South Carolina's best youth softball teams will converge on Bluffton for the three Dixie Softball state tournaments beginning Saturday.
This weekend, four local squads in three different divisions will take part in the festivities. Beaufort will face off with Aynor and Latta in the Sweetees bracket in a round robin format, featuring teams of players 6 and under.
Teams from Bluffton and Beaufort will compete against Lancaster and Sumter in the X-Play Angels bracket, featuring 9- and 10-year-old players. That tournament is a modified double-elimination format. In the X-Play Ponytails double-elimination bracket, Beaufort goes up against Pageland in a first-round game Saturday. That bracket features players 11 to 12.
All tournament games will be held at Oscar Frazier Park, which has hosted several such competitions in the past. Beaufort County Parks and Leisure Services Deputy Director Shannon Loper said she is looking forward to the event.
"We enjoy hosting the tournaments," Loper said. "It helps out the local economy and gives us a chance to show off the county. We have very good feedback."
According to Loper, families of the players often look forward to visiting the area and taking advantage of some of the more popular tourist sites.
"They actually make this a vacation while they're here," Loper said.
After a banquet for the teams on Friday evening, opening ceremonies will be held at 7:30 p.m. Oscar Frazier Park.
Dixie Softball State Tournamnents
At Oscar J. Frazier Park, Bluffton
Opening Ceremonies, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Beaufort vs. Aynor, 1 p.m. Sunday
Beaufort vs. Latta, 3 p.m. Monday
Bluffton vs. Lancaster, 2 p.m. Saturday
Beaufort vs. Sumter, 4 p.m. Saturday
Beaufort vs. Pageland, 6 p.m. Saturday