Dixie baseball cranks up


By D. Mark Mitchell

sports coulmnist

Dixie Softball and Baseball All-Star Teams start Tournament play this weekend.
The Opelika Dixie Ponytails host the Sub-District Tournament at West Ridge Park, which started last night(June 18). The Tournament continues through Tuesday, June 23. The five team double-elimination tournament started at 6 pm with Valley playing Beauregard. Opelika played Beulah at 7:30 pm. The results were not complete at press time. Smiths Station drew the bye and will play the winner of Valley/Beauregard today (June 19) at 6 pm.
The winner of the tournament will advance to the District tournament in Auburn June 26.
Opelika Dixie Youth Pee-Wee Teams, American and National, will host the “Coach Pitch” District tournament at the Dixie Youth main Complex on Fields 1 and 2 starting today (June 19) and running through Tuesday June 23.
The eight team double elimination tournament includes Russell County, Ladonia, Smiths Station, Beauregard, Opelika National, Dadeville, Tallassee and Opelika American.
Opelika National will play Dadeville at 7:30 pm on Field 1 while Opelika American plays Tallassee on Field 2 at 7;30 PM.
Opelika fields two All-Star Teams in the Pee-Wee Division due to the large number of teams in  the league.
If the two Opelika teams win round one games, they will face each other Saturday, June 20 at 12:30pm.
Opelika Dixie Youth Ozone All-Star Team will travel to Tallassee to play in the District Tournament starting Monday June 22. Opelika has one 11-12 year old Ozone All-Star team. The District is a double elimination tournament.
Opelika Junior Dixie Boys (13-year old) will host the District 5 Sub-District Tournament beginning today (June 19) and running through Tuesday, June 23. This is a five team Round Robin Tournament, each team advances to the District in East Montgomery June 27. The teams will be seeded for the District Tournament based their record in this tournament.
The four game schedule for Opelika is listed below.
Opelika will play Southeastern at 6;30 today (Friday June 19), Saturday June 20 at 6 pm against East Montgomery, Sunday June 21 Auburn at 2 p.m. and Ladonia at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.
Opelika Dixie Boys Baseball All-Star Team(14-year olds) started the Sub-District in Phenix City last night. The results were not available at press time. Opelika will play Auburn, Smiths Station and Smiths Station in the Round Robin Tournament.
These four teams will join six teams from Montgomery for the District Tournament June 27 at Harrelson Field at West Ridge.
Good Luck to all Teams!
Opelika football team continues to work out Monday through Thursday at 6 a.m. The team is working on strength and conditioning. Coach Blackmon planned to participate in two team camps this summer.
The Dawgs are preparing for the season opener against Hillcrest -Tuscaloosa August 21. The Bulldogs open their home schedule August 27 against Auburn at Bulldog Stadium.
Opelika Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Brian Blackmon announced Jim Davis will be the ninth grade head football coach.
Davis has been a member of the OHS football staff for two years and also serves as wrestling coach. Davis takes over for Craig Montiel who moved to OMS to be the head 7th and 8th grade baseball coach.
Coach Devin Booth took her team to Starkville, Mississippi, for an individual camp earlier this week at MSU. Several OHS players shined at the camp. Cassidy Thomas won “Miss Bulldog,” given to the player that displays the best team concept and attitude. Jalen Snipes won the “Offensive Player of the Camp” award. Anita Payne was a finalist for the “Hot Shot” competition. Claire Worth, Amber Mathews, Snipes and Payne made the finals in the 3-on-3 contest.
Opelika All-Sports Booster Club continues to sign up corporate sponsors. Football season tickets go on sale Aug. 10-14 from 3:45-5:30 pm for regular season ticket holders. The cost is $35 per season book. I will have more details in the coming weeks. If you are interested in supporting the Opelika All-Sports Booster Club, contact D.Mark Mitchell  www.foxonthemark@yahoo.com.
PERSONAL NOTE OF THANKS    Wednesday I attended the annual Opelika Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. Little did I know but the Chamber board awarded me the 2015 “Distinguished Service Award”. Needless to say, I was stunned and overcome with emotion and was unable to share my thoughts to those attending.  I am not writing this to boast about the award but, to say thank you to everyone involved.
I love Opelika. The people of our great city have been wonderful to me and my two daughters, Mallory and Madison.
I would have liked to share my thoughts that came to me several minutes after being honored. I owe everything in my life to God, having undergone 38 surgeries since October, 1992.
On three different occasions doctors told my parents and daughters I would probably not make it through the night and one time doctors gave me two hours to live. The only reason I am here today is by God’s will. My  belief in God and my love for Mallory, Madison and family keep me going each day.
Opelika is the greatest city in America. Numerous people prayed for God to help me through tough times and numerous surgeries.
I am humbled and appreciate the Chamber honoring me with such an award. I am only doing what I do best, promote Opelika and doing my best each day.
To Chamber President -Mayor Patton, the Board of Directors, Chairwoman Mrs Baca, Mayor Gary Fuller, Council President Eddie Smith, the entire City Council and to all of my friends: Thank You, God Bless and GO DAWGS!
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the  A-O Sports Council.


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