For the second year running, Baldwin County will host the Georgia Dixie Softball State Tournament at the recreation department fields this weekend.
Baldwin’s three tournament teams will compete in 8U Darlings, 10U Angels and 12U Ponytails divisions. More than 20 teams from all over the state should bring thousands of fans.
Opening ceremonies are at 3 p.m. Friday. The local all-star girls squads play at 8 p.m. Friday.
All three groups have World Series trips following if victorious at the Dixie event. Winning teams travel to either Mississippi or South Carolina depending on the age group.
“If our 10U group comes to play, we are going to be tough to beat,” Baldwin County coach Josh Eady said. “We are looking forward to it.”
Girls’ softball is firmly entrenched in Baldwin County. The success of youth travel teams and local high school programs places the county on an accelerated track in a growing fast pitch sport.
Baldwin County fielded two Dixie Youth state championship winners in 2011 and 2012. Eady hopes to add more state titles after Sunday.
“I think the girls’ softball is as strong here as it’s ever been. It’s an impressive game to watch,” Eady said. “It’s not slow pitch girls’ softball anymore. This is the real deal.”
Over the last few years, a softball initiative took hold of the county. Hosting a state championship in any classification is a big deal.
Eady commended the county recreation staff’s preparation for the big softball weekend. Dixie Youth practically begged to bring the tournament back to Baldwin after last year’s success.
“(Recreation staff) are doing their best to make the place look as good as it can. Bringing this thing here is good for Baldwin County,” he said.
The first games start at 4 p.m. Friday. Championship matchups begin at 7 p.m. Sunday.