ON THE MARK
D. MARK MITCHELL
OPELIKA — The Opelika Dixie Youth Baseball Ozone All-Star Team swept through two games to capture the district tournament title. The 11-12-year-old all-stars beat Auburn Orange (14-4) and Auburn Blue (10-1).
Opelika batted .447 as a team during the two games; pitchers allowed no walks and struck out 14 batters. Opelika advances to the state tournament, July 15 in Enterprise.
Players include: Logan Childree, Carson Holcey Bllingsley, Whit Cooper, Caleb Peoples, Cam Pilate, Troy Tidwell, Asher Rudd, Colton Woodall, Turner Underwood, Jack Brandon, Grant Speigner and Brock Danford. The manager is Danny Cooper.
Opelika’s Dixie Youth Minor All-Star Team finished 1-1 in the district tournament. The 9-10-year-old all-star team beat Auburn Orange, 10-0, but lost to Auburn Blue, 0-5.
Despite finishing 1-1, Opelika advances to the Dixie Youth Minor State Tournament, July 8 in Troy.
JUNIOR DIXIE BOYS ALL-STARS 13U
The Opelika Junior Dixie Boys Baseball (13U) and Dixie Boys Baseball (14U) All-Star teams have been announced. The following are the players on each team.
Junior DBB: Trent Hayes, Isiah Grey, Christian Terry, Fuller Young, Troy Tungett, Kason Kalla, Jack Patterson, Jack Branch, Tyson Prince. Two other players have not confirmed they are available to play.
Opelika’s Dixie Boys All-Star Team (14U): Brady Blackson, Eli Brogden, Landon Childree, Jason Hood, Luis Merly, Colt Miller, Carter Neese, Thomas Robinson, Trip Scott and Jordan Watts. The manager is Wes Miller.
The two tournaments will be played on Harrelson Field and DB #2 at West Ridge Park in Opelika. Opening day is scheduled for July 8.
Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller, Opelika City Council President Eddie Smith and other guests will participate in opening ceremonies, Friday at 6 p.m.
COACH GENE STALLINGS HEALTH SCARE
Former Alabama head football coach Gene Stallings suffered a stroke two weeks ago on his ranch in Powderly, Texas. Stallings spent a few nights in the hospital before returning to his home on the ranch. Stallings has been a weekly guest on my sports radio show, “On the Mark”, appearing every Thursday at 7 a.m., presented by Jimmy Rane and Great Southern Wood.
Unfortunately, this is not the first health scare for Stallings. The 87-year-old Junction man suffered a heart attack and stroke several years ago. Despite the health scares, Stallings has not missed a beat. If I call one minute past 7 a.m. on Thursday, coach will answer with a slight chuckle … “D.Mark, you are late and can’t start today.”
The stroke seemed to cause Stallings to take a step back, rest and stay out of the heat. Only a few people outside of his immediate family knew about his latest set-back.
I know Stallings does not like attention, but after checking on him several days in a row, I realized current Alabama football head coach Nick Saban, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and longtime friend Jimmy Rane needed to know about coach’s health set-back.
I reached out to all three men the following day. The next day I called Stallings for an update on how he was feeling. After giving me his normal, “I am good and no need to worry,” Stallings told me that Saban, Swinney and Rane had reached out to check on him.
Having figured out I was the one that notified each, Stallings told me, “thank you.”
Please continue to pray for coach Gene Stallings to have a speedy recovery!
You can hear Stallings onThursday’s at 7 a.m. on “On the Mark”, airing on FOX Sports the Game 910-1310, the iHeartRadio app or online at www.foxsportsthegame.com.
D. Mark Mitchell is the sports director at iHeartMedia, host of “On the Mark” Fox Sports the Game 910-1310, co-chair of the Auburn-Opelika Sports Council, chairman of the Super 7 and Dixie Boys Baseball state director.