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Dixie Youth numbers down, outlook still up

Demopolis Dixie Youth softball officially got underway Monday when they conducted try outs and the draft for the 7-and-8-year-old age group. According to league officials, 43 girls registered for the age group. The girls were divided into three teams Monday night following a brief tryout.

Tuesday, the league conducted its tryout for the 9-and-10-year-old age group. As of press time, 64 girls had registered for the age group.

“The kids are excited about the season,” league president Randall Smith said.

The league, which will also welcomes 35 girls for its tee ball division, is feeling the effects of a drop off in participation from its 2008 season. The DYSL has been hit hardest in the 11-and-12-year-old age bracket. Organizers announced this week that registration for the age division has been extended until Tuesday, March 10.

“What we’re doing to combat (the drop off) is announcing by paper and radio that we have extended (the deadline),” Smith said. “And we, as the board, are making phone calls to those who have not signed up.”

Tryouts for the 11-and-12-year-old group have been postponed until Tuesday, March 10 as well.

“Some of the ones that are still late signing up seem to be relieved that there is an extension,” Smith said.

Organizers understand the importance of getting considerable participation in all of its age groups as Demopolis will play host to the district tournament for all age groups at season’s end. However, Smith said the league will maintain its focus and intents regardless of how many girls participate.

“We really don’t let the numbers being up or down determine the quality of coaching. We need to instill the sense of competition as we are preparing for tournament play,” Smith said. “We want to teach the kids to excel at anything that they work toward, from ball to school to life.”

League registration forms are available at Omni Sports and Hibbett Sports.