Demopolis Youth Baseball League opens 2009 registration

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New president Art Evans is excited about the 2009 edition of the Demopolis Youth Baseball League.

“This is a baseball community,” Evans said of Demopolis and its surrounding areas. “We just try to continue to build upon the base that we have with Cal Ripken. Last year we had about 250 kids in that age range involved in baseball. Hopefully we’ll have that plus this year.”

Evans says that one of the most impressive features of the DYBL is its lack of attrition. The league is formatted so that it allows for consistency among its leadership and coaches.

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“We’re fortunate that Cal Ripken’s certification program is lifetime,” Evans said of the policies governing CR coaches. That consistency allows league officials to continually focus upon its goals.

“We get our coaches together and we talk about what we want them to do,” Evans said of the league’s focus on building the character of its players as well as improving their on-field skills.

“It’s a thankless job,” Evans said of coaching. “If they can look back and say this player is a better ballplayer, a better team player and he exhibits the values of sportsmanship, it’s been a successful season.”

The DYBL is headed into its third season under Cal Ripken rules, a fact that Evans anticipates will make for a smoother-running game in 2009.

“The first year was definitely a learning experience. Last year was much better,” Evans said. “Probably this year, bar none, we’ve forgotten the Dixie Youth rules.”

According to Evans, the key difference between the rules of Dixie Youth baseball and those that govern Cal Ripken is the manner in which the statutes oversee the safety of players.

Evans explained that Cal Ripken rules, from inning counts to base running, are more focused on preserving the health of the players involved.

With league operations more stable than ever before, Evans said the organization is ready for the new challenges that face it this season. Among those is the 10U state tournament the league will host.

“you think we had turnout for the 14-year-old tournament, but you just wait,” Evans said, comparing the upcoming 10U draw to the Babe Ruth 14U state tournament Demopolis hosted in 2008. “I think this is really going to showcase Demopolis this year. We’ve got a great opportunity to get some West Alabama exposure. It’s going to really showcase West Alabama by having the possibility of having two teams from West Alabama in the tournament.”

In addition to hosting the 10U tournament July 11, the league is also embracing the newly-implemented travel ball teams which have started competing in tournaments around the state.

“We wanted it to be a part of Demopolis Youth Baseball,” Evans said of the tournament competition movement.

As such, the league is hosting two tournaments this season that will feature teams from around Alabama.

At the first of those tournaments, schedule for March 28-29, the DYBL will have open enrollment period in which any player can participate for a $25 registration fee.

“What we’re doing is using these proceeds on the 28th and 29th to help fund the all-stars at the end of the season,” Evans said of the funds collected at the late-March tournament. “We hopefully will have a lot of support and a lot of turnout.”

According to Evans, the all players that register for the tournament will also be given a cap and t-shirt.

The second of the travel tournaments will take place May 23-24. In that event, the players selected as all-stars from each Cal Ripken age group will compete.

“A goal that I would have is that this travel ball continue to grow and benefit Cal Ripken and Demopolis Youth Baseball,” Evans said.

Another change the league has made this year is its move of the annual George Spence Day. The event, typically used to kick off the season in early April, has been moved to May.

“We’re hoping with the weather being warmer we can have some other events,” Evans said of the day, which will be used to invited youth teams from surrounding cities for exhibition games.

Registration forms for the Demopolis Youth Baseball League are available at Omni Sports and Hibbett Sports until Feb. 20. Tryouts are scheduled for Feb. 21 with league drafts set for the following week. Practice will begin in march and the league’s opening day is tentatively scheduled for either March 30 or April 6.