By D. Mark Mitchell
The Opelika High School athletics department was quiet last week. Student-athletes had the week off since school ended.
The basketball and baseball teams will have workouts in the coming weeks.
Later this summer, baseball will have two-week periods of practicing and playing games for Coach Nick Richardson.
Opelika’s junior varsity and varsity teams played at home Monday and Tuesday and are scheduled to play at Sylacauga Thursday, starting at 4 p.m. They will continue playing games through June 20.
Opelika Dixie Youth recently announced All-Stars for the three age groups. Pee-Wee (7-8 years old) Minors (9-10 years old) and Majors (11-12 years old).
Opelika has two Pee Wee All-Star teams because of Dixie Youth rules. The number of players translates to the number of teams participating in the league.
League rules determine the number of All-Star teams in each league based on the number of players.
The Opelika America and National Pee-Wee All-Stars play in the district tournament starting June 22 in Beauregard, Minors June 14 in Auburn and Ozone June 22 at West Ridge Park in Opelika.
The All-Star teams are listed below:
Pee Wee –
Kevin Cumming –
Chad Burns –
Jamie Cooper –
Adam Pilate –
Jerome Sanders –
Trey Fields –
Adam Littleton –
Josh Childree –
Kurt Branch –
Michael Murphy –
For many years Opelika had played Youth baseball under the Dixie Organization. Mr Charlie Harris, former plant manager of West Point Pepperell in Opelika.
Mr Charlie, used ML Smallwood Park, Tolbert field, Southside, Moore Stadium and Miles Thomas field to play games. Each field used for a certain age.
Harris purchased all the equipment for each age group along with uniforms.
As the program grew over time, the Opelika Recreation Department stepped in and started maintaining the fields. Cutting the grass. maintaining the playing fields, clean the park and make sure the facilities were in tip top shape at all times.
Several folks helped run the leagues, including Mike Thomas, Guy Rhodes, Jimmy Allen, John Sellers, Alberta Boyd, Ben Bugg and Jason Rhodes.
Former Mayor Bobby Freeman made the decision to develop West Ridge Park. This was one of many wise decisions made by City leaders.
We owe all of this to Mr and Mrs Bobbie and Charlie Harris – Founding father of Opelika Dixie Youth.
D. Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State Director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council. He can be followed on Twitter at VOICEOFTHEDAWGS.