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Dixie Youth state tourneys coming to town

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By Goose Lindsay, Sports Editor

Rockwood’s Mike “Brillo” Miller Sports Complex will be a busy place later this week as 32 of the best Dixie Youth baseball teams in the state of Tennessee will be in Roane County for the 2011 Dixie Youth A and AA State Tournaments.

“We’re real excited to have the Dixie Youth State Tournaments in Rockwood,” Rockwood Mayor James Watts said. “A lot of people have worked really hard to bring the event here and we’re real pleased to be hosting it.”

To say a lot of people have worked hard to bring the event to Roane County could be an understatement. The event is being put on by the Kingston Parks and Recreation Department, Roane County Parks and Recreation Department, Rockwood Parks and Recreation Department, Kingston Optimist Club and Roane County Tourism.

“A lot of people have come together for this,” Dixie Youth National Director Tony Brown said. “There are five groups that are working to put this on and we’ll be relying on each other. The city of Kingston, the city of Rockwood and Roane County Parks and Recreation will all have ground crews at the event.”

“This has been a joint effort between Kingston, Rockwood, Roane County and Dixie Youth,” Rockwood Operations Manager Tom Pierce added. “There will actually be two state tournaments, one for the five and six year olds and one for the seven and eight year olds. Rockwood is the official host for the five and sixes while Kingston is hosting the seven and eights, but all the games will be held at the Mike “Brillo” Miller Sports Complex. This is one of the biggest tournaments we’ve ever had.”

While an event this large is bound to have a couple of hiccups along the way, Pierce believes all will run smoothly as long as “Mother Nature” cooperates.

“Our biggest concern is most definitely rain,” Pierce said. “We had some problems last year with the heat for the nine and 10 year olds, but we’ve bought new fans for all the dugouts and we’ll have canopies set up at different places to help people avoid the heat.”

While this week’s event is bound to produce some great baseball, it’s also going to produce a good source of revenue for Roane County.

“Anytime you have an event like this all of Roane County benefits,” Watts said. “This event will bring in an array of individuals that will not only enjoy the games, but they will eat at our restaurants, stay at our hotels and visit our merchants.”

“We estimate that the state tournaments will have a $250,000 impact on Roane County in hotels, food and gas,” Brown added. “There’s going to be 32 teams and 348 families in Roane County this week.”

While most of the teams in this week’s state tournament will be from outside of Roane County, Brown is hoping lots of people from Roane County will come out for the fun of the event.

“These age groups are a lot fun to watch,” he said.

“These little ones are great,” Pierce added. “They’ll put on a show.”

The Dixie Youth State Tournaments begin Thursday at 11 a.m. with opening ceremonies. The games will run all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the championship games set for Sunday.