Demopolis receives regional tournament

Published 8:38 pm Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Demopolis Youth Baseball League, in conjunction with the City of Demopolis, last week announced that it will host the 2011 Southeast Regional Baseball Tournament for the 12U 60′ Cal Ripken division.

The tournament is only the second such regional draw to call the City of the People home.

“It’s really amazing that we will get to host two in consecutive years,” Rob Pearson, who has been heavily involved in both the local league and Babe Ruth District 10 in recent years, said.

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The Demopolis Sports-Plex, the host site of this tournament, last held a regional tournament just a few months ago, the 2010 14U Babe Ruth Southeast Regional.

Organizers said they weren’t surprised that Demopolis would get another opportunity of this magnitude, but shocked that it would come so quickly.

“In a way, it was out of the blue,” stated Demopolis Youth Baseball President Art Evans. “We aren’t shy about our intent to be a tournament host, but we had no idea that it could happen this fast. It’s unbelievable, really.”

The tournament was initially awarded to Florence, who had to bow out of its host status due to the fact that its local league plays 70-foot base paths. Once the event became available, state officials quickly contacted Demopolis.

“They called us because they knew what kind of facilities we had and knew we’d be glad to host,” Pearson said.

Evans credited the strong support from the City of Demopolis, specifically Mayor Mike Grayson and Parks & Recreation managers Mark Pettus and Walker Reynolds, with giving Demopolis this opportunity.

“We wouldn’t have (this opportunity) without them,” explained Evans.  “The reputation of our facilities and our people has made the difference again.”

The tournament comes on the heels of last summer’s regional event, which saw considerable economic impact for the city.

“It was somewhere close to $250,000 of new money that came into the town,” Pearson said. “And a lot of economists put multipliers on that.”

The tournament, slated for the last week of July, will follow the hosting of the 2011 9U State Cal Ripken Baseball Tournament at the Sports-Plex.  The two tournaments promise a tremendous economic impact to the City.

“It was estimated that, with the two tournaments we hosted in 2010, there was an economic impact of over one million dollars for the City,” added Evans.  “However, the more important issue to me is the positive impact the tournaments have on the baseball players in our league, to be able to host these kinds of events for them.”

The Demopolis Youth Baseball League is organized for baseball players ages 4 to 15. It is chartered with Cal Ripken Baseball, a division of Babe Ruth Baseball, Inc.