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Letter applauds Greenville players

Typically when you read about sportsmanship, it usually depicts the lack thereof.

There have been plenty of reports where angry fans have thrown beer bottles at referees over a call. There have been instances where a parent has punched an umpire in the face over a call during a youth baseball or softball game.

Then you have those athletes, who show class by spitting on an official or even take matters in their own hands and become physical with an umpire or referee.

Rarely do you read about a team or player who displayed great sportsmanship and would deserve a pat on the back.

Until now.

In mid-July the Greenville Dixie Majors baseball team earned their first trip to the state championship tournament in Thomasville.

Along the way Greenville had to ensure some unruly fans during the district championship game. Greenville prevailed by turning the other cheek and coming away with the district title.

The actions of the fans were

the topic of a July 9 column pointing out the lack of sportsmanship among parents of children participating in sports.

The Greenville Dixie Majors' sportsmanship was tested again at the state tournament .

Greenville earned a No. 3 seed in the tournament by winning all of its pool play games except one. One of those victories came against AUM, which traditionally has been a stumbling block for Greenville.

After Greenville knocked off AUM, 4-3, during pool play AUM's manager told his players not to shake hands with the players or the coaches after the game.

Then the matter became more heated that night when AUM's team allegedly tried to start trouble at the hotel where Greenville was staying.

In both instances, Greenville showed class by not letting an angry team try to spoil their victory.

Greenville's actions certainly did not go unnoticed.

Greenville's team and their coaches were complimented on how they kept their cool and how proud their parents should be in a letter written to Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon from tournament director Dena LeNoir.

"It was a pleasure having the Greenville team here in Thomasville and I hope to see Greenville back here in 2006 in for the World Series," LeNoir wrote.

The actions taken by AUM's manager is why sportsmanship is just an afterthought.

"By that coach not shaking hands with the manager s and the players, that was the worst thing he could show his players," said Barbara Ausderau, mother of Greenville Dixie Major catcher Cory Ausderau. "Kids tend to show better sportsmanship than coaches and parents these days, and that's sad."

Kevin Taylor is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. E-mail him at kevin.taylor@greenvilleadvocate.com or call (334) 383-9302 ext. 122.