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Tournaments provide economic boost

The 2012 Dixie Youth district tournament and Dixie Minor sub-district tournament will start Friday at the Beeland Park Complex, and Greenville will serve as the host for all the action for the first time in nearly eight years.

Jerome Harris, director of Greenville Parks and Recreation Department, and his staff have been very busy preparing for the upcoming tournaments, but believes that the hard work will pay off in the long run.

“It’s going to have a big economic impact (on Greenville),” Harris said.  “The town itself will benefit because people will go out to eat or shop when they leave the ballpark, and they will be here for five days.”

Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Francine Wasden is proud to have Greenville serve as host to the tournament and understands how invaluable the tournament is to Greenville from an economic standpoint.

“The sales tax revenue generated during an event such as this is immeasurable,” Wasden said. “Our hotels will be full, our restaurants and retail businesses will see an increase in customers and it’s all due to the visitors brought in for this event.”

Wasden also wanted express gratitude toward the individuals that made this event possible.

“Greenville Parks and Recreation Department does an outstanding job in preparation for this type of tournament and we appreciate what they do,” Wasden said. “We hope all of Greenville will come together and make these visitors to the Camellia City feel welcome.”

The four Dixie Minor teams (boys ages 9-10) will face off Friday at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. with Crenshaw County facing Troy and Greenville taking on Brundidge.

The five Dixie Youth teams (boys ages 11-12) begin at 6 p.m. with Brundidge against Crenshaw County at 6 p.m. and New Brockton facing Coffee County at 8 p.m.

The winner between Brundidge and Crenshaw County will face Greenville on the following day.

The five-day event will continue until the following Wednesday, with the exception of Sunday.

No one is more excited for this weekend’s tournaments than Mayor Dexter McLendon, who was a former tournament participant as well as a Dixie Youth coach for 19 years.

McLendon said that he has enjoyed watching the tournaments since he was a little boy, and that the baseball field is where his heart is.

“It teaches our kids the importance of sports — about winning and losing, and how to work hard to be a winner,” McLendon said.

Standard admission for the tournaments will be $3 for adults and $2 for children, but the district is asking that participants pay an extra dollar on opening night.  That dollar will go toward the Dixie Scholarship Fund.