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George Spence Fun Day on its way to SportPlex

DEMOPOLIS–The point of the Dixie Youth baseball and softball leagues is to give the players a chance to compete in a supportive, friendly atmosphere.

But, as Dixie Youth Commissioner Chris Stewart points out, it’s still competition.

“The kids are out to win the ball game,” he says. “Baseball’s a competitive sport.”

That’s why, every year, the Dixie Youth program holds its annual George Spence Fun Day, a day when the games don’t count in any standings and having a lot of fun matters more than scoring a lot of runs.

“We have George Spence Day so the coach can let a kid pitch who hasn’t pitched a lot but wants to,” Stewart says. “If there’s a kid who’s had his mind on playing third all season, he can do that. During the season the games are for competition, but on George Spence day, it’s just for fun.”

Sometimes the bending of the norms goes way beyond just changing the positions around.

“We’ve had games where we’ve just let two kids, one from each team, pick the teams,” Stewart says. “Sometimes two mothers will coach the teams for the games. It’s just a way to let everybody have some fun with it.”

Not all of that fun will even be limited to the baseball diamond. Stewart said tickets will be sold for a number of rides and activities, such as a big slide, face painting, a baseball toss, and other games and attractions. The SportPlex will be operating its concession stand, and all proceeds will go back to the Demopolis Dixie Youth.

“The kids really look forward to George Spence Day, to the games and things” Stewart says. “It’s a fund raiser for the leagues, but it’s not really about the money. We’re doing it for the kids. We just want to create a low-stress environment when they can just come out and have a good time and play where they want to play.”

The day started out as a way to honor Spence, one of the pivotal figures in Demopolis’s Dixie Youth history.

“Spence was one of the founding fathers of Demopolis Dixie Youth,” Stewart says. “This is a day to honor him.”

The first game of George Spence Fun Day will begin at 9:30 and Stewart expects the festivities to finish up “about 3.” Everyone in the community is invited and there is no admission charge.

Babe Ruth Tourney Schedule Set

Babe Ruth League Commisioner Rob Pearson announced Thursday the schedule for Saturday’s Jerry Windle Challenge Tournament.

The Challenge was originally planned as an eight-team single-elimination tournament, but a late cancellation by one participant left Pearson unable to guarantee every team two games in the original format.

In order to do so, the three-team half of the tournament bracket will now be a round-robin format “mini-tournament,” with each team playing the other two. The winner of the mini-tournament will advance to the Challenge final.

The Challenge will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday. Admission is $5 at the gate with all proceeds going towards the Babe Ruth League.