- With less than a month to go before Beaufort County Parks and Leisure Services again plays host to one of youth baseball's biggest events, recreation officials are calling for community involvement.
PALS and the Burton Wells Recreation Complex will be hosting the Dixie Boys World Series starting July 30. Twelve teams from 11 states will compete in the baseball tournament for 14-year-olds, and volunteers and sponsors are needed.
PALS recreation coordinator Shannon Loper said help will be needed with concessions, T-shirt sales, the gate, scorekeeping and the national anthem. And as of last week, Loper was short the number of sponsors needed to help offset the tournament's estimated $50,000 cost.
Loper also said she has not had much luck convincing local fast food chains and other restaurants to provide discounted meals for players. PALS is responsible for players' meals.
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"It's really good baseball and it's really good for the local businesses," said Loper, whose organization played host to the 2008 Junior Dixie Boys World Series in Bluffton. "I hope that some of them will come forward and help us out. You worry about it, because if it puts too much strain on the budget, it may deter us from being able to do it on down the line. And we want to be able to do that kind of stuff."
Beaufort's World Series bid was awarded in 2009, after county recreation officials presented their case at the Dixie Boys World Series in Seneca. Dixie Boys Baseball commissioner Sandy Jones said this week that he was impressed with the way the 2008 event was handled and that Beaufort is a nice area.
He drove up from Bluffton to visit during the 2008 tournament before knowing Beaufort would be placing a bid the next year. He said he expects a big turnout among teams and players' families.
"It's an age group with a great following," Jones said. "A lot of the families plan vacations around these events."
The opening ceremony should provide the visitors a taste of the area. Dinner and games will be held for players at Waterfront Park, giving parents the opportunity to browse the shops on Bay Street, Loper said.
Teams earning their state's World Series bid will come from state tournaments in South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. A Beaufort County team, separate from the South Carolina state tournament winner, will receive an automatic bid as the host site.
The three fields at Burton Wells will each host games during the tournament. Practices will be held at the old Burton Wells facility.
Loper said time is running out to secure sponsors in time to print T-shirts and other items. Smaller sponsors can sign on as late as the week prior to the tournament, she said.
"We're really down to the wire," she said. "But I'm sure we could make some adjustments and get some things added if we were to get more sponsors."
2011 DIXIE BOYS WORLD SERIES
- What: Youth baseball tournament featuring 12 teams from 11 states.
- When: July 30 to Aug. 3
- Where: Burton Wells Recreation Complex, Beaufort
- Admission: $5 adults, $3 children
- Information: To volunteer or become a sponsor, call Shannon Loper at 843-255-6684. Sponsorship information is also available on the Beaufort County PALS website, www.co.beaufort.sc.us/pals